PART 3: ANALYSIS AND OPINION |
15. Dr Caroline Jackson MEP, Chair of the European
Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy Committee,
expressed support for the publication of the Commission's draft
strategy. This was echoed by the majority of witnesses, who saw
it as an opportunity to address fundamental questions about the
approach to waste policy in the EU.
16. Dr Jackson was pleasantly surprised by the following
passage in the document, which she felt marked "a sudden
change of direction, a realisation":
"Current Directives foresee that all Member
States should achieve the same recycling rates. However, the question
is legitimate whether this uniformity in targets is most effective
from both an environmental and economic point of view".
17. What witnesses found significant about the draft
strategy was the fact that it raised questions about the practice
of setting targets in waste legislation, thus providing the first
opportunity to challenge conventional wisdom. The difficulty with
which the UK and some other Member States have grappled with implementing
reinforces the need to examine the current approach to waste policy.
Although waste prevention has been the preferred outcome identified
by the Commission since the original 1975 Waste Framework Directive,
progress towards it has been slow.
18. The Commission's waste and recycling strategy
reasserts the importance of waste prevention, admits past failure,
and promises a new agenda "inspired by a lifecycle approach
to resources management".
However, it quickly became apparent to the Committee during the
inquiry that in order to put this new approach into practice much
more effort would have to be made by the European Community and
individual Member States to develop appropriate legislation.
19. Witnesses highlighted several points in the European
legislative process which had in the past had an impact on the
quality of waste legislation and which, in the light of the Commission's
wider ambitions for waste policy, should now be addressed in the
course of developing new strategies on waste and resource use.
20. We believe that it
is fundamental to the development of Community waste policy that
the Commission identifies the weaknesses in the current approach
to developing and implementing legislation and takes remedial
action. The following sections analyse in detail the Committee's
21. The Commission is responsible for initiating
new policies, strategies and legal measures at Community level.
Measures addressing waste issues are usually initiated under either
Article 175 (environment) or Article 95 (internal market) of the
EC Treaty and are subject to the co-decision procedure, in which
the Council and European Parliament act together to decide the
final text of a Commission proposal.
Co-decision and Transposition
CO-DECISION (EC TREATY ARTICLE 251)
The Commission submits a proposal to the European Parliament and Council.
The relevant standing committee in the European Parliament produces a report which usually suggests amendments to the Commission proposal. The European Parliament adopts a position on the basis of the report.
The Council of Ministers either approves Parliament's amendments (if any are made), in which case the legislative proposal is adopted, or it adopts a Common Position, which is forwarded to the Parliament for a second reading.
The relevant standing committee makes a recommendation, and the European Parliament delivers an opinion at second reading, either approving, rejecting or amending the Council position by an absolute majority of its Members. If the European Parliament does not take a decision, or if it approves the Council's Common Position, the measure is deemed to be adopted. If it rejects the Common Position the proposal is deemed not to be adopted.
If the proposal is amended, the Commission forwards it, together with the Commission's opinion on the amendments, to the Council. The Council can subsequently adopt Parliamentary amendments by a qualified majority, or modify amendments on which the Commission has delivered a negative opinion by a unanimous vote. If it does not adopt all of the Parliament's amendments, the conciliation procedure begins.
A conciliation committee is formed from the members of the Council and a delegation from Parliament. There is a maximum of six weeks for an agreement to be reached, in the form of a joint text, which is confirmed at the third reading. If no agreement is reached, or if the joint text fails to secure approval by the required majority of votes in the Council and the Parliament, the proposal lapses and does not become law.
Transposition and Implementation
Directives are binding upon Member States as to the result to be achieved, but leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods. In most cases, Member States implement Directives by adopting national legislation where necessary (a process known as "transposition"). Implementation, i.e. bringing into effect the necessary domestic legislation, has to be completed within a period of time specified by each Directive. Member States must submit reports to the Commission, showing that implementation has taken place. The Commission may initiate infraction proceedings before the European Court if it considers that a Member State has not implemented a Directive.
Technical Adaptation Committees
22. After co-decision, waste Directives can have
detail added by implementing measures agreed through technical
adaptation committees (see Box 2), under the system known as "comitology".
These committees are made up of representatives of Member States,
chaired by the Commission, and seek agreement on issues which
are deemed to be too technical for inclusion in the parent legislation.
23. Technical adaptation committees
play an integral role in providing the detail of framework Directives.
According to Defra, there are currently three committees discussing
waste legislation, including preparations for implementation of
the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (see
paragraph 30 et seq).
24. The committees have long attracted criticism
for their lack of transparency, with only basic information on
their membership and remit being available to the public.
The Commission publishes a list of the number of committees operating
in a given year,
by policy sector and type of committee procedure. There is no
sub-division for environmental policy, and no detail relating
to which legislation is subject to this process. Box 2 contains
a brief explanation of the committees' functions and how they
relate to those of other "comitology committees".
Technical Adaptation Committees
Technical adaptation committees are part of the comitology system of procedures where committees are set up to carry out detailed rule-making. This occurs when the Council delegates implementing powers to the Commission and the committees are set up to oversee the exercise of these powers. Current procedures are governed by Council Decision 1999/468/EC, which is undergoing a process of review.
Committees are made up of Member States' representatives (who may be government officials or nominated experts) and are chaired by Commission officials. However, who sits on them and when they meet is something of a mystery to the outsider. The Committees can in general be divided into three basic types:
(i) advisory committees (used mainly on internal market matters) give advice on draft measures; the Commission is required to take their advice into account and to report back to the committee on how it proposes to do so;
(ii) management committees are consulted by the Commission on draft implementing measures and give opinions on them by qualified majority voting (QMV); if a measure is approved by a committee, it may be implemented immediately; if not, it may still be implemented, but the Council must be notified and may, within a limited time, take a different decision;
(iii) regulatory committees similarly give opinions on Commission proposals by qualified majority voting; but in their case if a committee rejects a proposed measure, the Commission cannot put it into immediate effect, but must propose it to the Council for a decision; the Council is required to take action by QMV within three months.
25. From the evidence it was
clear that the full implications of legislation were not always
appreciated by the time a proposal had completed the co-decision
process. Crucial definitions could be left to technical adaptation
committees, which meant that Member States sometimes agreed to
Directives without fully understanding their scope. Secondly,
the legislative timetable did not always allow the technical adaptation
committees time to conclude their deliberations before commitments
previously timetabled in the framework legislation had to be met.
Comitology: Key Recommendations
|The current use of technical adaptation committees is unsatisfactory; legislation is significantly amended behind closed doors and there is no effective scrutiny by national parliaments. The timing of the process has also resulted in situations where details of significance to the implementation of Directives have not been ready before the legislation has to be in force in Member States.
Our recommendations should result in:
· technical adaptation committees that focus on technical implementation measures and do not significantly alter the scope of a Directive;
· greater transparency, through publishing committee minutes, proceedings, etc.; and
· Project planning approach, where legislative timetables agreed during co-decision are compatible with work delegated to committees, and where committee deadlines are made publicly available.
The Waste Acceptance Criteria
26. A frequently cited
example of the problem just described is that of the waste acceptance
criteriaa key element of the Landfill Directive and delegated
to a technical adaptation committee to draft. The Landfill Directive
was adopted in 1999 and sets targets for reducing Member States'
dependence on landfilling. It aims to "prevent or reduce
as far as possible negative effects on the environment from the
landfilling of waste, by introducing stringent technical requirements
for waste and land filling".
27. The waste acceptance criteria are crucial to
the planning of two major changes to UK landfill practice which
are required by the Directive:
landfills into three typeshazardous, non-hazardous and
by July 2004.
28. The waste acceptance criteria define the type
of waste allowed into each category of landfill. They were supposed
to have been completed by the technical adaptation committee before
the legislation came into force in Member States (July 2001) but
were not finalised until January 2003. In the meantime the UK
failed to meet the original implementation deadline of 16 July
2001, the legislation coming into force a year later (June 2002).
Nevertheless operators of landfill sites were still expected to
decide, by the deadline of July 2002, which type of landfill they
would operate, without knowing what waste would be accepted.
29. As a result of the
Council's decision to delegate a crucial part of the legislation
to the Commission, and because the technical adaptation committee
first met after Member States had begun the process of transposition,
crucial details affecting the operation of the Landfill Directive
were not agreed before the deadline for full implementation. The
Government were thus in a position of having signed up to legislation
without knowing the practical implications; while landfill operators
were faced with significant uncertainty and confusion about what
the law required.
Waste from Electrical
and Electronic Equipment Directive
30. The Waste from Electrical
and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive emerged from work on
priority waste streams, initiated in 1991, and was adopted in
2002. It is currently
being transposed into Member State legislation along with a partner
instrument, the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances
in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (RoHS).
At the same time a technical adaptation committee is discussing
the scope of both Directives. For the first time it is possible
to track the progress of discussions, as the DTI have taken the
unprecedented step of placing minutes of the meetings on their
website. We welcome this initiative by the Department, although
we are disappointed with the slow progress of discussions.
31. From the informal DTI minutes and the evidence
to the inquiry it is apparent that both the scope of these Directives
and practical questions of implementation are being discussed.
The table below summarises the main issues which are being debated
by Member States:
|Scope of the Directives
|Discussion of criteria which might be applied to deciding whether or not to include some products in the scope of the WEEE/RoHS, where their status was unclear.
producer, retailer take-back, inter-EU trade, recycling targets
|Discussion of the implications of excluding particular products from the scope of the WEEE Directive.
||Format of data|
|Examples of products with unclear status:
Refrigerators in caravans
Large industrial machinery
|Design of WEEE marking symbol|
|Establishment of the maximum concentration values for the six substances in the RoHS Directive.
32. It could be argued that questions about the scope
of these Directives fell within the area of significant policy
and should therefore have been addressed during the co-decision
process, when they would have been subject to the full scrutiny
of the European Parliament, as well as open to scrutiny by national
parliaments. We do not accept that there was a lack of time available
to raise substantive issues. As we note above, initial discussions
concerning waste streams began as long ago as 1991; the Fifth
Environmental Action Programme, adopted in 1993,
contained a commitment to regulate WEEE as a priority waste stream;
and the Directive took two and a half years to emerge from co-decision.
33. The timetable set out
in the WEEE Directive gives the UK until 13 August 2004 for transposition.
The discussions in the technical adaptation committee appear to
cover a significant range of issues, and until the precise scope
of the Directive has been settled there is bound to remain significant
uncertainty about the practical implications for industry, regulators
and consumers over the coming months. It is regrettable that,
as we report, so much remains to be settled. It is impossible
for those affected by the Directive to run their businesses without
timely decisions on these matters.
34. The Better Regulation
Task Force report (see paragraph 86) has recommended better project
planning by the Government during transposition. We consider that
this advice is equally relevant to planning the work of technical
adaptation committees. The Commission should provide a project
plan for each specific legislative proposal which demonstrates
how the deadlines contained in framework legislation are to be
co-ordinated with the work of technical adaptation committees.
We recommend that where substantive definitions affecting the
operation of the Directive remain to be decided, transposition
into national law should not go ahead until the committee has
completed its work.
35. Both examples raise questions over what is appropriate
for the Commission to delegate to committees: where is the line
to be drawn between policy and technical matters?
36. We consider that care
should be taken during the co-decision process to ensure that
any details which are left for decision by technical adaptation
committees are genuinely technical and appropriate for being decided
in that way. A clearer line must be drawn between policy objectives
and technical content. Besides purely technical aspects, committees
may reasonably be used to resolve detailed questions of transposition
but should not be relied upon to address policy gaps left behind
by poor initial appraisal of the legislative proposal.
37. Where it is felt that more detailed aspects are
not appropriate for settling by co-decision, the Commission might
nevertheless adopt a more creative approach. For example the Integrated
Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive
lays down a framework requiring Member States to issue operating
permits for certain installations carrying on industrial activities
described in its Annex 1. Permits must include definitions of
Best Available Technique (BAT) for the industrial process covered.
These definitions were left to be agreed after the framework legislation
was agreed by co-decision, but in a far more transparent manner
than in the examples just cited. Working groups were organised
by the Commission, made up of principal stakeholders, including
representatives of Member States and industry. There is also a
dedicated website from which relevant documentation can be downloaded
for wider consultation.
38. Compared with the implementation
of the IPPC Directive, the level of transparency in agreeing waste
acceptance criteria and in current work on the WEEE Directive
is unacceptable and should be addressed, primarily by the Commission
but also by Member States. Where technical adaptation committees
are addressing complex issues all stakeholders should be able
to follow and comment on developments. The DTI has at last demonstrated
that it is possible to do this and that concerns about confidentiality
(frequently cited as an excuse for lack of transparency) can be
overcome. The Commission stated in their evidence to us that they
would look at possibilities for making access to committee information
more open. We would urge them to do so, and would remind them
of the existing commitment to greater transparency under the Community's
Better Regulation initiative.
39. Although it is possible
to discover that a committee exists and to find its legislative
basis, access to information about agendas or decisions is almost
non-existent. The Commission should ensure that:
objectives are set for committees, before framework legislation
is finally agreed, which allow enough time to operate before legislation
is transposed in Member States. It should be explicit when these
objectives have been achieved.
timetable of meetings, agendas, minutes and other documentation
should be placed on the relevant policy web pages of the Commission.
expertise should be available to the committees, not only in the
form of members of committees but also through wider consultation
if this is necessary. Information on the members should also be
placed in the public domain.
patterns of the Member States should be made publicly available,
to enable scrutiny by national parliaments.
40. The Government should
not agree to framework legislation without a full understanding
of the practical implications. Where significant detail is to
be delegated to technical adaptation committees this should be
made explicit in Explanatory Memoranda and regulatory impact assessments
made available to Parliament.
41. We are glad that the
DTI have made a start in opening up the committee system by placing
informal minutes of the WEEE Directive committee on their website
and by explicitly asking for comments by interested parties. We
urge the Government to extend this practice to all technical advisory
committees. Details of the UK representatives on the committees
should in any event be made available.
Legislative Consistency: Key Recommendations
The Committee was provided with examples of how lack of clarity in EU legislative instruments and national implementing measures have led to confusion over when an instrument applies and to difficulties with implementation.
· The Commission should accept a commitment to carry out a review of overlaps in existing legislation during preparation of the waste and recycling strategy.
· Future waste instruments must take account of existing reporting and data requirements in legislation and seek to ensure compatibility where possible.
· The Government should promote better linkages between the policy objectives of EU legislative instruments and the means of delivering them.
42. As well as the problems which arise when crucial
definitions are developed during the EU legislative process, witnesses
(particularly the Environment Agency) drew attention to inconsistencies
between the definitions contained in different Directives and
between practices in different Member States in relation to the
same Directive. To a certain extent the Commission has recognised
this as a problem in the waste strategy. We feel however that
it should conduct a wider review than it currently proposes. This
should examine the overlaps in current legislation and the difficulties
arising from inconsistent definitions.
43. The particular example cited by the Commission
in the waste strategy and referred to also by the Environment
Agency in its evidence to the Committee is the definition of recovery
of waste in the Waste Framework Directive.
44. The annexes of the Waste Framework Directive
contain definitions of disposal and recovery of waste which determine
what waste treatment options can be counted towards recycling
and recovery. The definitions are not very clear, and have been
the focus of litigation in the European Court of Justice. The
Court has sought to develop criteria for deciding whether processes
constitute recovery or waste disposal.
Unfortunately case law has created difficulties for recovering
energy from waste in incinerators, as the Court decided that the
primary objective of the incineration of waste in a processing
plant designed to dispose of waste is waste disposal. The generation
of energy as a secondary effect cannot affect the classification
of that operation and cannot thus be considered to be waste recovery.
The Commission, in a written answer to the European Parliament,
subsequently confirmed that this means that energy recovered by
this method cannot be counted towards waste recovery targets under
the Packaging Waste Directive.
45. The waste and recycling strategy acknowledges
the difficulties of the definitions in this instance, and work
is currently under way to remedy the situation. However, our evidence
points to other problems caused by poor definition which also
need to be addressed.
46. The Environment Agency is concerned about overlaps
between Directives. The Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive
and the Waste Framework Directive are given as examples. The first
of these deals with the treatment of waste waters, the second
with treatment and disposal of waste in a liquid form. Poor definitions
in both Directives make it impossible to tell where one Directive
stops and the other starts, or whether they overlap. The Agency's
witness put it succinctly:
"The battery in the vehicle: is it caught by
the End-of-life Vehicles Directive? Is it caught by the forthcoming
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive? Is it caught
by the Batteries Directive? Or is it caught by the Hazardous Waste
47. This example was used by the Agency to highlight
the problems of providing effective delivery mechanisms to comply
with the Directives, all of which have subtly different notification,
data collection, and reporting requirements. It is often unclear
which instrument should apply. If the Agencyas the Competent
Authority for England and Walesdoes not know which instrument
applies, it is unlikely that anyone else does.
48. The Environment Agency felt that these complications
arose because the Directives had been agreed separately, without
taking account of existing legislation or of what was happening
in other policy areas. This lack of co-ordination by the Commission
presented real problems in dealing with a number of Directives,
each of which had to be addressed separately despite certain similarities.
The Agency was currently attempting to improve its arrangements
for issuing permits by developing an electronic permit administration
system. The Agency stated that in order to benefit fully from
such an approach, requirements under new Directives needed to
be consistent with previous "templates".
49. The waste and recycling strategy does not raise
the issue of definitions in any depth and contains a commitment
to carrying out work only on the definitions of recovery and disposal.
The examples presented to the Committee showed how poor definitions
can lead to significant problems with designing compliance mechanisms.
50. We agree with the Environment
Agency that the existing overlaps and inconsistencies between
Directives (especially on the definitions of "waste"
and "recycling"), as well as inconsistencies of practice
between Member States in relation to the same Directive, should
be reviewed by the Commission. There should be an explicit commitment
to carry out this work as part of the waste and recycling strategy,
as it has a major impact on the ability to deliver the objectives
of Community legislation in an efficient manner.
51. When new proposals
are being developed the Commission should explain how they interact
with existing and proposed Community legislation.
52. We support the Environment
Agency in its attempts to modernise procedures for issuing permits,
and believe that in future the Commission should pay more attention
to ensuring that requirements in Directives are, as far as possible,
consistent with existing Community legislation. This is a key
factor in enabling the regulatory authorities to develop efficient
permit systems which take advantage of new technology.
Data needed to Support Policy-Making:
The evidence pointed to a lack of baseline data on waste, inconsistent assessment of legislation and poor understanding of the implementation of legislation in Member States. This has resulted in poorly drafted Directives which "hope for the best" and are not specifically linked to a measurable outcome.
Our recommendations should lead to:
· the UK acting as a champion for improving data in the EU, on the basis of best practice;
· targets and other policy measures in EC legislation which can be justified through publicly available assessments;
· extended impact assessment carried out at key points in the legislative process;
· an enhanced role for the European Environment Agency in collating information on implementation in Member States; and
· non-implementation being dealt with robustly by the Commission.
53. A theme which recurred throughout the inquiry
was the difficulty at all stages of assessing the merits of waste
proposals, owing to lack of data. From the evidence there are
three key problem areas: a lack of consistent baseline data on
waste flows for Member States; difficulties in assessing the potential
impact of proposed Community legislation; and evaluating the actual
impact of legislation once it has been transposed.
54. The Commission has acknowledged in the draft
waste strategy the "unsatisfactory status of current statistics
about waste generation",
and proposed to remedy it through the new Waste Statistics Regulation.
This is however a new initiative itself and, although agreed in
principle, pilot projects have yet to be carried out to establish
exactly how it will work. The idea is to increase the amount of
data collected by Member States on waste and to ensure that they
are collated in a comparable way, in order to provide a reliable
source of information. The Commission emphasises the importance
of this Regulation in the waste strategy. However their initial
timetable foresees the first set of data being made available
to the Commission in 2006, allowing for assessment of trends at
the earliest by 2008.
55. The new Regulation aims to organise the collection
of waste data in a way that ensures consistency of both data and
collection methods across Europe. The Regulation is intended to
provide baseline information on the production, recycling, re-use
and disposal of waste.
56. The Commission also states in the waste strategy
document that because of the lack of data "it is not possible
at this stage to propose any operational, quantified waste prevention
targets based on a comprehensive environmental and economic analysis."
This is echoed in the more recently published consultation on
the resources strategy. However, both documents indicate that
the strategies emerging from consultation and to be published
in 2004 will be examining and perhaps suggesting targets for waste
57. We are concerned that
the Commission's attempt to address the lack of data through the
Waste Statistics Regulation will not produce meaningful results
until at least 2008; and yet significant waste policy strategies
are being developed now. There are pressing problems relating
to waste which cannot wait until 2008 to be addressed.
58. The Commission recognises
that these strategies will require a systematic review of policy.
We therefore very much regret that lack of proper data will result
in a hiatus in the process. We believe that the Commission has
no option but to be guided by its own statement that "it
is not possible at this stage to propose any operational, quantified
waste prevention targets based on a comprehensive environmental
and economic analysis." It should resist the temptation to
rush into producing targets based on doubtful evidence.
59. The UK should not wait
for EU initiatives on data collection but should seek to develop
and improve its own baseline data as quickly as possible.
60. Associated with the quality of baseline data
is how that information is used, and whether it leads to appropriate
legislation. The DTI, commenting on their involvement in developing
legislation and setting EU targets, said: "At times we have
felt that the target-setting process in the Directives which we
are now required to implement . . . has been rather
simplistic and . . . resulted in waste diversion targets
without a proper examination of what the overall environmental
impact of those targets would be".
Dr Caroline Jackson MEP made specific reference to the Landfill
(on which she been the rapporteur): in her opinion it was unclear
on how recycling targets were to be devised and consequently whether
they were likely to have the desired effect.
61. The more recent WEEE Directive was subject to
amendment only three months after publication. During the co-decision
process, problems over the wording of Article 9 were not discovered
early enough to be addressed, which led to the institutions issuing
a joint statement pledging to amend it as soon as possible.
Despite the recognition that there was a problem, it was not until
after the legislation had been agreed that action was taken. In
our discussion of technical adaptation committees we have already
mentioned how definitions relevant to the scope of the WEEE Directive
were left to be settled after co-decision (paragraph 25). By then
some firms (who had conscientiously tried to be ahead of the game)
had lost money.
62. A Commission-wide initiative to improve the quality
of regulation was promoted in 2000 in a White Paper on Governance,
which has resulted in Commission guidelines for impact assessment.
We welcome these. These draw together previous work done in assessing
costs and impacts on business, and aim to subject all major Community
policies to social, economic and environmental impact assessment.
The Commission is committed to producing preliminary impact assessments
for all proposals presented from the beginning 2004.
Extract from UK Cabinet Office Guidelines
When to prepare a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA)
· Prepare an initial RIA as soon as you know that the European Commission is thinking about a new proposal.
· Develop this into a partial RIA when the Commission produces its proposal. You will have to include this with Ministerial correspondence seeking collective agreement on the negotiating line and the Explanatory Memorandum (EM) to the UK Parliament, as well as the formal consultation document.
· Update your partial RIA when Council or the European Parliament put forward amendments.
· Refocus your RIA when you are at the transposition stage to include options for implementation.
Whether you are working on EU or other international proposals, all stages of your RIA should be used to inform the negotiations as well as in the UK clearance/scrutiny process.
Extract from Commission "Internal guidelines on the new impact assessment procedure"
The impact assessment process has two stages:
· a filtering exercise based on a short preliminary assessment of all proposals presented in the context of the Annual Policy Strategy or the Work Programme of the Commission
· an extended assessment of selected proposals.
The impact assessment procedure covers:
· regulatory proposals such as Decisions, Directives and Regulations
· non-regulatory proposals that have an economic, social or environmental impact.
These include proposals such as white papers, expenditure programmes, communications on policy orientations and negotiating guidelines for international agreements.
63. The Commission's "extended impact assessment"
process is currently the subject of pilot studies, including one
on the proposed revision of the Batteries Directive.
Responding to questions about the Batteries Directive pilot process,
Mr Grant Lawrence, from the Commission (DG Environment), stated
that they "were not finding it easy" and one of the
major problems was that the documents were simply too long.
64. Since the Committee took evidence, the results
of another pilot study has been published. This was carried out
on a proposal to revise the Groundwater Directive. It consists
of an economic appraisal and a choice of policy responses, with
the Commission's preferred option indicated. Although we are not
in a position to comment on the merits of the options presented
in the impact assessment, we believe that the process of presenting
different scenarios based on assessment is a positive step forward
and provides encouraging evidence that the new impact assessment
process is beginning to yield benefits.
65. As proposals move through the legislative process
they undergo significant changes, particularly from amendments
by MEPs and during conciliation,
in which texts are negotiated intensively behind closed doors.
The relevance of an initial impact assessment may in consequence
be compromised. To counter this, both the Commission and some
MEPs believe that impact assessment should also be carried out
on major amendments by the European Parliament. Dr Jackson felt
that the ability to propose changes without justifying them was
"power without responsibility", citing the ratcheting-up
of targets in the Packaging Waste Directive as an example. Mr
Grant Lawrence stated that the Commission agreed that all the
institutions should carry out some form of assessment of proposals,
but stressed that it was still in the early stages of development.
66. An inter-institutional agreement
on Better Regulation was agreed at the Thessaloniki Council in
June 2003, which states that "Where the co-decision procedure
applies the European Parliament and Council may, on the basis
of jointly defined criteria and procedures, have impact assessments
undertaken prior to the adoption of any substantial amendment,
either at first reading, or conciliation".
Although this does not actually commit the institutions to preparing
impact assessments, it does provide a clear indication that such
a process would be valuable, both in the early stages of legislative
development and during the conciliation stage. There is a commitment,
however, for the institutions to "carry out an assessment
of their respective experiences and consider the possibility of
establishing a common methodology".
67. We agree that the European
Parliament and the Council should undertake impact assessment
of significant amendments to legislative proposals. We welcome
the inter-institutional agreement on impact assessment, which
acknowledges the value of co-operation. We would encourage further
work to be done on how this system can be made to work in practice.
Although the Commission has some experience of conducting assessments
it appears that this is an area which will require substantial
further investment in expertise.
68. The UK has significant
experience in preparing regulatory impact assessments and should
act to champion the process in the EU institutions.
69. The origin of any future
targets set by the Commission should be clearly explained and
justified in the impact assessment process.
70. Attention was also drawn to the lack of reporting
requirements once EU legislation has been implemented by Member
States, which again leads to a paucity of data with which to assess
the success of legislation in reaching its objectives. The Commission
itself has recognised that "the current data and reporting
system is only giving us an approximate view of the state of the
European environment and the associated socio-economic trends
and an incomplete picture of the transposition and implementation
of EU environmental legislation".
71. The Commission stated in oral evidence that it
used three main sources of information to judge whether or not
a text had been implementedthe information supplied by
Member States under the reporting requirements contained in each
Directive; the European Environment Agency; and the European Statistical
The present reporting requirements have recently been criticised
in a report of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament,
which found that "Member States are still failing to meet
their basic obligations to report by a due date to the Commission".
The latest report by the Commission appears to confirm this, as
none of the Member States met the deadline for submitting information.
Dr Jackson felt that there had been little response within the
Commission to the European Parliament's criticism so far. Mr Grant
Lawrence said that as part of the current work on waste the situation
on reporting would be looked into and the Directive made more
72. We agree with the European
Parliament's assessment that reporting is not functioning in a
manner which allows the Commission to make accurate assessments
of the state of implementation in Member States. We strongly encourage
the Commission to accept the changes recommended in the Parliament's
report as part of its review of waste policy, with a view to securing:
transparency and access to activities and publications on the
more robust approach to following up non-reporting.
The role of the
European Environment Agency
73. The European Environment Agency (EEA) became
operational in 1993; its objectives are set out in Regulation
1210/1990 (amended by Regulation 933/1999): "To provide the
Community and the Member States with the objective information
necessary for framing and implementing sound and effective environmental
74. The European Environment Agency was seen by several
of our witnesses as a suitable candidate for taking on a greater
role in enforcement. Industry in particular felt that it should
have an inspection role to ensure consistency of application across
the Member States. However, the Commission felt that although
the EEA had a role in supplying information and data, the decision
on whether a Member State is in breach of compliance should remain
with the Commission.
The Commission is currently evaluating the performance
of the Agency, and a report into its operation was recently completed
The report highlights the relatively recent establishment of the
Agency and the rapidly changing policy approach of the Commission
as reasons why the original mandate of the Agency might need to
be refined. The report sets out different options for the Agencywhether
it should be more proactive or more of an observer. Based on the
evidence we have received, we favour a more proactive role for
the Agency, to enable it to monitor more closely the implementation
of legislation in Member States. This is consistent with its current
role of providing the information necessary for sound policy-making.
75. We recommend that one
of the outcomes of the Commission's review of the European Environment
Agency should be a clear acknowledgment of the Commission's duty
to ensure that the Agency is able to work with data which are
complete and consistent across the Union and to ensure full cooperation
from all Member States. This is essential to the Agency's task
of promoting awareness, backed by reliable comparisons, of the
state of the environment across the European Union.
76. We would not, however,
go as far as recommending that the Agency be given inspection,
let alone enforcement, responsibilities.
The UK's Influence on EU Policy-Making:
The Committee saw little evidence to support the claims by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry that the Government was having a major influence in driving strategic thinking on EU waste policy. The confusion apparent in dealing with waste policy in the UK does not provide a strong position from which to represent the UK interest in EU negotiations.
Following the recommendations in the Better Regulation Task Force report, which we fully endorse, the UK needs to take a more co-ordinated approach to implementing waste Directives.
· The UK must act at the strategic level in EU policy development, not just react to legislative proposals as they emerge from the Commission.
· A project planning approach should be adopted for implementation.
· The Environment Agency (England and Wales) should be much more closely involved in the early stages of developing and negotiating EU legislation.
· Local authorities should act proactively and share best practice.
· A single waste policy unit should be established within Government to improve collective working and to establish clear lines of accountability.
Conduct of negotiations in Brussels
77. Central government has responsibility for implementation
of international protocols, negotiating EU waste legislation and
overall UK waste strategy. Waste policy within the UK is devolved
and the Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly have responsibility
for ensuring that environmental policies are in place to deliver
waste commitments stemming from the UK strategy and international
commitments. At the EU level negotiation in Council is usually
carried out by the Minister from the lead Department in central
government, which for waste policy is Defra or the DTI, depending
on the particular dossier.
78. Defra officials were keen to impress on the Committee
that they did play a significant role during the development of
waste legislation at the EU stage. In their written submission
they stated that "The UK has been participating in developing
policy on IPP at European level and is keen to see an overall
vision developed to show how it can help deliver major EC environmental
strategies and enable decisions to be made about priorities".
The written evidence was sent as a joint submission with the DTI
who, in reply to further questions on the Government's role on
developing EU strategy, stated that the evidence was "intended
to mean that the UK has very significantly influenced existing
79. In their evidence the DTI and Defra cited examples
of how they had responded constructively to EU initiatives through
practical implementation of Community legislation; they found
it less easy to provide instances of the UK providing strategic
direction in Brussels. The DTI explained how they were responding
to EU initiatives and legislation "as a result of the Landfill
Directive and other Regulations".
Neither Department provided significant evidence of creative thinking
by the Government in developing waste strategy further or in driving
policy at an EU level.
80. The waste industry claimed that the UK was not
engaged in proactively developing environmental strategies in
the same way as other Member States.
The Commission, although it had words of praise for the UK's approach
to giving effect to EC Directives, felt that it was not an active
participant in the initial strategic thinking in the way some
other Member States were.
81. In responding to specific questions on the waste
and recycling strategy the DTI felt that it was not their responsibility
to take a position, referring to Defra as taking the lead generally
This may be technically true but we believe it highlights the
difficulty of coordinating the activities of separate departments
in order to bring about a coherent overview and strategic direction
82. Waste is subject to Qualified Majority Voting
in the Council, so it is not always possible for the Government
to guarantee the best outcome for the UK. In a Union of 25 Member
States, after enlargement, it will be even more important for
the UK to negotiate effectively. This means engaging early on
in the development in policy.
83. It was also unclear how well the Government had
analysed UK performance compared with that of other Member States.
Defra felt that learning from other Member States' experience
was valuable and "we certainly do what we can to keep the
radar directed towards north European practice".
This does not imply a systematic study, and again the Department's
statement related to consistent implementation rather than to
seeking to develop a strategic waste policy with the aim of influencing
84. The Government do not
provide convincing evidence of a strategic approach to EU waste
policy, although they appear to have had some success in developing
implementation. Currently it appears that the Government's position
is essentially reactive. Without a clear idea of how EU policy
should develop we believe that the Government are at a severe
disadvantage in representing the interests of the UK during negotiations.
85. There was general agreement among witnesses that
delayed implementation of Directives could result in uncertainly
for industry and regulators. Both industry and the Environment
Agency felt that this led to a lack of investment confidence and
missed opportunities in developing new technology. We have already
discussed the blurring of the final stages of the EU process and
transposition at the national level in relation to technical adaptation
committees (paragraphs 22-24). We also received criticism from
various witnesses of the Government's approach to implementing
Directives. The Commission recently published its latest report
on the implementation of waste legislation across the EU.
The record for the UK is not impressive, in so far as the Commission
has five cases against the UK pending in the European Court for
failure to implement Directives on timethe second highest
number of such cases in the Community.
86. During the inquiry the
Better Regulation Task Force published their own report on implementing
European environmental legislation.
They focused in particular on the WEEE and End-of-Life Vehicles
(ELV) Directives, which are currently being transposed. Their
report found similar shortcomings in the transposition process
as highlighted by our witnesses and made some highly pertinent
recommendations, which our findings reinforce.
87. The DTI are leading on implementation of the
ELV and WEEE Directives, and are carrying out consultations. Unfortunately
one of the first questions asked in the consultation on the WEEE
Directive is whether its objectives are realistic. It is too late
to be asking questions about the Directive's objectives at the
implementation stage; an impact assessment undertaken at the preliminary
proposal stages should have addressed these questions. We believe
that this highlights the need for the Government to define clearly
the steps that should be taken during the EU process and subsequent
88. The Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF) report
was carried out in response to concerns that the ELV and WEEE
Directives might result in yet another late or poorly thought
out implementation. A number of recommendations were made on adopting
a project planning approach to implementation. We fully endorse
those recommendations. The Environment Agency's evidence included
the results of an analysis of the implementation of several Directives.
Both the Agency's analysis and the BRTF report provide guidelines
on factors which need to be taken into account in order to achieve
a successful implementation process. We reproduce the Task Force's
Project planning: Recommendations of the Better Regulation Task Force
· When launching new legislative initiatives, the Government should publish a very short summary of its underlying objectives, set in the context of overall policy in the area. This should include its criteria for judging the contribution this new legislation will make to achieving its objectives, and how this contribution will be measured.
· From the earliest stage of developing waste policy and implementing new waste legislation, the Government should draw on the advice of a range of experts from outside Government. This includes seconding experts into Departments to develop policy alongside officials.
· The Government should adopt a project planning approach to introducing new legislation. Project plans should be published so that stakeholders know what will happen and when in implementing new legislation.
· The Government should publish an analysis of progress with implementing the ELV and WEEE Directives across the EU, showing what decisions Member States have reached on key issues of concern to the UK. This should be updated on a regular basis.
· The Government should commit itself to giving the Environment Agency the means to raise the necessary resources to take on the new role of enforcing the ELV and WEEE Regulations, or provide them directly.
· DTI, Defra and the Environment Agency should establish a single website that brings together all relevant information on the ELV and WEEE Directives, including that which is currently held separately on each Department's home sites.
Role of the Environment Agency
89. The Environment Agency was set up as a non-departmental
public body by the Environment Act 1995. The Agency is the waste
regulation authority for England and Wales, and is sponsored by
Defra and the National Assembly for Wales.
90. The Environment Agency made it clear in their
evidence that they felt that they could play a useful role in
the early stages of legislative development. Many of the issues
raised during our inquiry have centred around the need for a better
understanding of the capacity to implement legislative objectives
during EU policy making, and the need for the Government to take
a more strategic approach in the EU. The Agency could provide
the necessary information and support the Government in EU negotiations.
To that end the Agency and Defra have recently agreed a concordat
which sets out how the Agency should be involved in EU policy
development. The concordat replaces a "Memorandum of Understanding
between the Department and the Agency on the handling of international
activities", dating from 1997.
Extract from Environment Agency and Defra concordat
Legislative developments are those which are specifically aimed at establishing new or revised EU legislation. Agenda-setting measures are those at a more formative stage - e.g. the production of Green or White papers - which will often in turn lead to legislative developments.
In both areas Defra and the Agency have an important role to play in the early influencing of the EU institutions' thinking. Defra should alert the Agency as early as possible to developments in areas relevant to its functions and expertise, and where possible senior Agency personnel should be involved, from a strategic perspective, in initial discussions. Likewise the Agency should inform Defra where it becomes aware of policy proposals, including apparently technical issues which may have wider policy ramifications.
· Defra will normally lead in policy negotiations, or in groups (even if supposedly "technical") where the main interest is policy matters. The Agency may be well placed to support Defra if there is likely to be substantive discussion of matters such as the practicalities of implementation, or the likelihood of a measure achieving its desired outcomes.
· The Agency would attend technical groups which relate entirely, or nearly so, to its areas of expertise and responsibility.
· Defra and the Agency should consider whether joint attendance would enhance the quality of a UK delegation, and provide opportunities for effective joined-up influencing based on complementary skills and experience.
91. The Environment Agency
wishes, not unreasonably, to be involved continuously in negotiations
in Brussels. For this it needs the ability to be proactive rather
than just responding to requests from Government departments for
information. We believe that this is crucial to enhancing the
UK's ability to influence proposals at an early stage. We wish
to see the provisions in the recently agreed concordat working
towards this end.
92. The Government should
therefore acknowledge that it has a duty to listen to and take
into account the advice of the Agency, as the statutory regulator,
and should be prepared to justify its own decisions. The Agency,
for its part, must recognise that ultimately it is the Government
who have to take responsibility for policy decisions.
93. We note that the Agency
is involved in technical adaptation committee negotiations in
some cases and fully endorse this arrangement. However, to improve
transparency it should be made clear which committees the UK has
an active role in and from which department UK representatives
on the committees are drawn.
94. At the same time the DTI
leads on certain proposals and the Agency stated that "progress
has not been as fast as we would have liked" in reaching
a similar agreement.
We consider it essential that on waste matters where DTI is
the lead department the Environment Agency should be listened
to and involved in negotiations on exactly the same basis as it
should be where Defra is in the lead. We recommend that the DTI
should draw up a concordat with the Agency similar to the one
negotiated with Defra. Both concordats should recognise the distinct
functions of Government departments, the Agency and industry.
95. The underlying reason
for a concordat was to create a structured and strategic approach
to negotiations. A concordat can only go so far in achieving this,
and we reinforce our view that, at the outset, emphasis must be
placed on the objective to be achieved and the practicalities
of how the legislation is to be implemented. Secondly, there is
a question of resources. The Government should recognise that
the Environment Agency will need additional staff, with appropriate
specialist skills, to carry out its responsibilities effectively.
We recommend that the Government should as a matter of priority
consider how the Agency can be provided with the resources and
expertise not only to carry out its increasing regulatory functions
in regard to waste, but also to enable it to be proactive in the
early stages of policy development.
Devolved and local
96. We have not considered the role of the devolved
administrations in this report. The Scottish Parliament is currently
undertaking an investigation into waste policy. We received evidence
from the Local Government Association (LGA) on the activities
of local authorities, who have responsibility for waste management
97. Evidence from the LGA focused on the need for
early engagement by central government with the EU, based on an
awareness of the capacity of local government to carry out its
part in the agreed tasks. The LGA argued that once legislation
had been agreed, the Government should inform local authorities
in good time so that they could put the necessary infrastructure
in place. The "fridge mountain" was cited as the classic
example of a failure in this regard. It did not result from poor
legislation from Brussels per se, but reflected a mistaken
understanding of the scope of the relevant Regulation.
Disposal of Refrigerators: conclusions of the House of Commons Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs Committee, 4th Report (2001-02)
"Whilst the European Commission must accept some blame for lack of clarity, the overwhelming responsibility for mishandling the implementation of Regulation 2037/2000 lies with Government. Government officials initially made a judgement that insulating foam within fridges fell under Article 16(3) not Article 16(2); they argued about the semantics of the phrase 'if practicable' when in fact the practicality of dealing with the foam was abundantly demonstrated by practice in other European countries ; they were unaware of the implications of Article 11 for exports of fridges from the UK, and therefore for 'take back' schemes; despite requesting clarification on so many occasions they failed to resolve the issues; they apparently ignored or reacted very slowly to a host of warnings from interested parties; and despite those warnings and legal advice suggesting the Regulation would be taken to apply to foam insulations they failed to put in place contingency plans to cope with the problem."
98. The LGA made it clear that the disparate nature
of local authority views made it difficult for the Association
to speak with a single voice in the way the Environment Agency
was able to do. However, a single point of information and contact
within central government and a "longer term vision"
would facilitate early communication. At the same time the LGA
was engaged in its own dialogue with the Commission and MEPs,
as well as with other local authorities across the EU.
99. We agree that better collective working in Government
is certainly necessary; but we also feel that local authorities
themselves need to be more proactive in anticipating EU policies
and their consequences. For instance, when the Committee was taking
evidence from the LGA, the Association drew attention to press
reports of what they claimed was a new and previously unrecognised
problem for local authoritiesthe implications of having
to collect and dispose of banned garden chemicals.
Whilst we note the Association's concerns, we find it difficult
to believe that this new requirement came completely out of the
blue. But even if it did, it suggests to us some failure on the
part of the LGA to identify the implications for its members of
a proposal which we believe was adequately publicised at the time
of its adoption. Certainly we feel that the Association did at
least have the opportunity to discover what was happening and
that it is not reasonable to place all the blame on the Government.
100. There are examples of proactive work being undertaken
at the local level, and we encourage local authorities to share
the task of developing best practice. Two examples are set out
in the boxes.
Example of good practice: the WEEE Directive
The European Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) puts the responsibility for the collection, recycling and disposal of these items firmly onto the producer and retailer. Currently, however, this responsibility partly falls on local authorities and waste collection companies, which provide recycling and disposal facilities via their civic amenity sites and who often provide doorstep collection systems for large household appliances. Recycling these items can contribute significantly to a local authority's recycling targets and the new Directive provides a good opportunity to increase this. With the infrastructure already in place it makes sense for local authorities to work with producers and retailers to provide future facilities for collection and recycling.
A good example of this is already taking place in Peterborough. The City Council has teamed up with the Dixon Group, the Kingfisher Group, the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development (UK CEED), the Environment Agency and a number of other private and public sector organisations to identify best practice options for collecting, processing, remanufacturing and recycling WEEE items. As part of the new scheme Peterborough City Council has been awarded £266,000 by Defra from the Waste Minimisation and Recycling Fund for local authorities to establish WEEE reprocessing facility. The scheme will provide a separate collection service for old electrical items from domestic properties and retail stores. The appliances will either be repaired and sold into the re-use market, or disassembled for reprocessing and remanufacture into new products.
The scheme will also provide funding for training and to act as a catalyst for the community to help the unemployed, disadvantaged people, those on low incomes, people with learning difficulties and ethnic minorities. The reprocessing plant will have a public viewing area, a community shop and classrooms so that it will also provide an education facility for local schools and the community.
Example of good practice: the Integra Project
In 1993 Hampshire County Council and 13 district councils undertook a county wide public consultation process to take account of the views of Hampshire residents on how to deal with the waste problem. Links were also established within a wider network including Parish Councillors, community groups and the education sector. The consultation resulted in the adoption of an integrated waste management strategy, known as Project Integra, by the 11 district councils of Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton unitary authorities, Hampshire County Council, and the private waste contractor Hampshire Waste Services.
Currently Project Integra has achieved a collective recycling rate of over 22 per cent with over 95 per cent of Hampshire's households having access to a kerbside collection of recyclables.
Developments have been made in terms of infrastructure with the provision of two Materials Recovery Facilities in Portsmouth and Alton, three centralised composting sites, twenty-six household waste recycling centres and three planned energy recovery incinerators, the first of which was opened in September 2003. Project Integra's long term aim is to achieve 40% recycling in the partnership by 2005/06. To help achieve this, funding of over £5 million from Defra will go towards providing additional kerbside collection schemes and increased green waste processing capacity.
The effective delivery of the waste strategy has required high levels of cooperation between the authorities. This has been achieved by the development of joint agreements that set out the principles of the respective local authorities' responsibilities and obligations supported by all Project Integra partners. This includes a formal agreement to share income and risks from the sale of recyclables and a joint promotional campaign focusing on waste minimisation and recycling. In 1999 Project Integra was awarded Beacon Council status by the then Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
101. Defra acknowledged in its evidence that since
waste Directives were of particular significance to local authorities,
LGA representatives should be brought in at an earlier stage,
and were seeking to develop links for this purpose. We believe
that this should be put into effect sooner rather than later.
The Commission's strategies on waste point to the possibility
of greater national flexibility in implementing overall EU objectives,
for example by setting recycling targets at the Community level
but with tradable national obligations. For the UK fully to take
advantage of this change in approach a clear understanding of
the capacity of local authorities to deliver is crucial. It does,
however, place a greater onus on the local authorities themselves
to be more proactive in assessing their own capacities and perhaps
also in developing their own targets and policy responses.
102. We believe that better
communication between the Government and local authorities can
be assisted through the creation of a single point of information
and consultation on waste policy.
103. Financing new commitments
was a major concern of the LGA, and we agree that it should be
made much clearer what the responsibilities were likely to be
for local authorities as early as possible. To facilitate this,
initial regulatory impact assessments by the Government should
show how responsibilities will be divided between local authorities,
central government and other agencies; the percentages of the
overall cost represented by this breakdown; from which budget
lines local authorities are expected to meet their shares; and
whether extra money is likely to be provided.
104. From the evidence received by the Committee
it is clear that the Government need to develop more strategic
thinking, leading to clear and achievable objectives at the EU
level, and at the national level to establish a clear process
105. We believe that the
current split of responsibility between departments without a
clear strategic lead results in a lack of accountability and direction.
Also, industry expects the Government to speak with one voice.
A single waste policy unit could provide strategic leadership
on policy development and a single source of information for stakeholders.
As Defra is currently responsible for overall waste policy, it
would seem sensible for such a unit to be based within this Department
and report to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs. We therefore recommend that an inter-departmental
group on waste policy, reporting to the Environment Secretary,
should be set up as soon as possible.
106. The current placing
of consultations and general information on disparate websites
is confusing to stakeholders and the public. We therefore recommend
that the inter-departmental group is backed by a single government
website containing all matters relating to waste management, together
with links to European Commission and other relevant sites. Whilst
we look to Defra to take the lead in setting up and maintaining
this website, we would expect it to have due regard to the responsibilities
of DTI, other relevant departments and the devolved administrations.
107. In the interests of
transparency, all Explanatory Memoranda on relevant EU documents
sent to Parliament should also be placed on this website.
The Commission's Waste and Recycling Strategy
Key Requirements for Reform
The Commission's waste and recycling strategy identifies areas of policy in need of reform. We believe that in addition this strategy should focus more clearly on issues of process, which affect the quality of legislation. The key requirements are:
· waste policy placed in the context of reconciling sustainable development and economic development;
· clear long term objectives;
· a systematic approach to identifying weaknesses in developing and implementing legislation, co-ordinated by the Commission; and
· unambiguous framework legislation, which provides achievable steps towards the long term objectives set in the Strategies.
Will the Commission's strategy
achieve its objectives?
108. The Commission is seeking to create a comprehensive
and consistent policy on waste prevention and recycling. It sees
this as being embedded within the overall objective of resource
efficiency. It is developing new tools and methodologies for carrying
out this work, for example through the Communication on Integrated
109. Our inquiry has attempted to find out whether
the process of developing legislation, as currently applied to
waste policy, has had an impact on the quality of legislation
and whether the process needs to be changed in order to respond
effectively to the Commission's ambitious agenda.
110. The strategy on waste and recycling places considerable
emphasis on creating incentives to the public and business to
pursue waste prevention. In order to do this, Community legislation
must be framed in a way which provides these incentives. From
the evidence received from our witnesses we are not convinced
that waste legislation has been developed in a manner which provides
the steps necessary to achieve longer term objectives. This criticism
does not apply simply to earlier legislation. The Better Regulation
Task Force report argues that the recently agreed producer responsibility
Directives do not provide correct incentives for the cultural
change necessary to achieve their objectives. In this the Task
Force is not referring just to the domestic implementation process
but to the Directives themselves.
111. The Commission states that the waste and recycling
strategy is "to open a discussion about strategic options
for the further development of Community policy on waste prevention
and recycling [rather] than giving a full analysis of waste management
policy at all levels. This would go beyond the role and available
resources of the Commission".
112. We believe that sound legislation is essential
to the realisation of the Commission's strategy on waste. In our
view this requires a review to be made of how waste legislation
has been developed in the past. The Landfill Directive is mentioned
specifically in the waste strategy as a driver "for the development
of waste management policies at national level during the current
decade, including efforts to promote the diversion of waste towards
material recycling and biological treatments".
During the inquiry we have identified weaknesses in the development
of that Directive, for example a lack of initial analysis when
devising targets and a poor approach to implementation. The inquiry
has also highlighted inadequacies with the current system of reviewing
implementation, which will make it extremely difficult for the
Commission to assess the effect of the Directive. We do not believe
that this is an appropriate way to drive forward Community waste
policy. A proper review of the policy-making and legislative process
is fundamental to developing appropriate waste legislation in
113. We conclude that significant
improvement can be made to the policy-making process at the EU
and national level. The Commission should commit itself to reviewing
the operation of the EU legislative process as it applies to waste.
20 Q 49 Back
Implementation of Community Waste Legislation - Period 1998-2000
(COM(03) 250) Back
ibid. at p 4 Back
See European Union Committee, 3rd Report (1998-99): Delegation
of Powers to the Commission: Reforming Comitology, (HL 23);
and European Union Committee, 31st Report (2002-03): Reforming
Comitology (HL 135) Back
EUC, 3rd Report (1998-99) op cit. Back
For example: Report from the Commission on the working of the
committees during 2001 (COM(2002) 733 final) Back
Q 108 Back
p 28 Back
Council Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfilling of waste Back
Co-disposal is a common practice in the UK, in which hazardous
and non-hazardous wastes are mixed together Back
Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment
Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain
hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment Back
Fifth Environmental Action Programme, OJ C138 (17 May 1993) Back
Directive 1996/61/EC Back
See, for example, the Commission White Paper on European Governance
(COM(2001) 428) Back
See cases C-6/00, C-228/00 and C-458/00 Back
Written Question E-0790/03 Back
Directive 1991/271/EEC concerning urban waste water treatment,
OJ L135 (21 May 1991) Back
Q 20 Back
Q 23 Back
Communication: Towards a thematic strategy on the prevention and
recycling of waste (COM(2003) 301 final), at p 23 Back
Regulation (EC) No 2150/2002 Back
ibid., at p 23 Back
Q 119 Back
Directive 1999/31/EC on the Landfill of Waste Back
Q 75 Back
ENDS Environment Daily, Issue 1435, 2 May 2003 Back
See the findings of the Better Regulation Task Force (paragraph
COM(2001) 428 Back
COM(2003) 723 final Back
Q 291 Back
See Box 1 Back
QQ 292-93 Back
An agreement between the European Parliament, Council and Commission Back
2003/2131 (ACI) Back
Inter-institutional agreement on Better Law-making, para. 25 Back
Communication on the sixth environment action plan of the European
Community (COM(2001) 31 final), at p 64 Back
Q 280 Back
Report on standardising and rationalising reports on implementation
of directives on the environment, A5-0259/2002 Back
Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament
on the implementation of community waste legislation for the period
1998-2000 (COM(2003) 250 final) Back
Q 280 Back
Q 281 Back
Evaluation of the European Environment Agency, an IEEP/EIPA study,
at p 53 Back
Q 121 Back
Q 107 Back
Q 80 Back
Q 251 Back
Q 110 Back
Q 165 Back
Report on the implementation of community waste legislation (COM(2003)
250 final) Back
Environmental Regulation: Getting the Message Across, July 2003 Back
Q 8 Back
Q 206 Back
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, 4th Report (2001-02):
Disposal of Refrigerators (HC 673) Back
Q 205 Back
Q 197 Back
Commission Communication: Towards a thematic strategy on the prevention
and recycling of waste (COM(2003) 301), at p 12 Back
ibid., at p 14 Back