12th July 2023 | On July 6th, a coalition of organisations protecting consumers, health and environment across Europe, sent an urgent letter to the members of the EU Parliament to entreaty them to introduce vital protection for pollution victims in the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). EurEau also signed this letter.
The IED governs over 50,000 installations like steelworks, chemicals and plastics factories, industrial farms and coal plants, all over Europe. The directive regulates pollution from industrial facilities which ends up in air, water and soil. The data, particularly on air pollution, is rich in terms of providing evidence of the damage caused each year to EU citizens and, as a result, economies, by this pollution.
Rights of action demanded for victims of industrial emission
In the letter, the organisations say:
“When people’s health suffers as a result of illegal industrial activities or inaction from public authorities, victims should be empowered to go to court and stand a genuine chance of obtaining compensation from those who have violated the law and caused them harm. Today, this is next to impossible. Even in cases of illegal pollution, people suffering from health issues are essentially abandoned because there are no effective, harmonised rules to ask for remedy before the courts, as confirmed by the European Commission.“
According to EuEau, the proposed text of the IED meets most of the water service providers’ expectations by correcting some drawbacks of the current directive regarding the protection of water bodies. Among other things, the current proposal allows for a better inventoy of hazardous chemicals through mandatory environmental management systems (EMS) that support risk prevention and the search for less hazardous alternatives.
Positions on PMT and vPvM as well as on lifestock farming
EurEau makes clear that persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) substances and very persistent, very mobile (vPvM) substances should never be authorized for release into urban sewer network. Furthermore, the organization advocates the extension of the IED scope to cattle and the reduction of the size of farms covered for pig and poultry.
Besides the general position of the EurEau about the scope of the IED some articles are commented in detail in the paper.EurEau position paper