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Seveso III - MEPs back better public access to information in cases of chemical accidents


14 Jun 2012


Climate & Environment

Citizens, workers and vulnerable people will have better information in the event of major accident hazards following today's European Parliament "Seveso III" vote to update rules aimed at the prevention and control of major accidents in the chemical industry. GUE/NGL MEPs welcomed the first reading agreement between MEPs and member states on updating the provisions of the former Seveso II directive that only covered 10,000 industrial establishments in the where dangerous substances are present in quantities exceeding the directive's thresholds.

"The right to information for NGOs, Trade Unions, and citizens is granted according to the Aarhus Convention (1). Public authorities are entitled to receive essential information from industrial operators both to prevent and to undertake measures in case of accidents" Portuguese MEP Alda Sousa said following the vote

"Parliament's negotiating team did a good job in ensuring the largest possible protection from the harmful effects of dangerous substances if released into the air or involved in an accident" added German MEP Sabine Wils. "A further assessment will be conducted by the Commission on some toxic substances not yet included, but overall today's vote means we have a reliable mechanism for inspections and the same basic obligations both for upper and lower-tier operators."

Member States must comply with these new provisions by 31 May 2015.

The new rules were adopted by 593 votes in favor, 10 against and 7 abstentions

(1) 1998 UN Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:

David Lundy +32 485 50 58 12

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

European United Left / Nordic Green Left

European Parliamentary Group