WASTE STATISTICS (15359/01)
Letter from the Right Hon. Michael Meacher
MP, Minister for the Environment
I am writing to update you on progress in the
Council and European Parliament on the above proposal.
The original proposal was considered by your
Committee under cover of Explanatory Memorandum (EM) 7272/01 dated
11 April 2001. It was considered on 24 April 2001 and cleared.
In December the same year, the Commission produced
an amended proposal which included a draft Common Position prepared
in a Council Working Group. The subsequent EM (15359/01) and Regulatory
Impact Assessment (RIA) dated 31 January 2002 were prepared to
accompany the amended proposal. This EM drew attention to the
draft Common Position and included a description of the main differences
between the two documents. This EM was also cleared by your Committee
at its meeting on 29 January. The final Common Position was unchanged
from the draft version cleared by your Committee and was adopted
by Council on 15 April 2002.
The European Parliament's Environment Committee
approved the Council's Common Position and 21 amendments in a
Second Reading vote on 18 June. The broad impact of the EP amendments
was to increase the reporting requirements and to reduce flexibility
in the collection and reporting of data. This included an increase
in the reporting cycle from two years (as in the Common Position)
Following urgent discussions between the Presidency,
Commission and the European Parliament a compromise proposal has
been produced. The main features of this proposal are:
the retention of two-yearly reporting;
the extension of the regulation to
cover agriculture and fishing sectors with appropriate transitional
arrangements (the Common Position proposed pilot studies before
firmer commitments for pilot studies
and the future inclusion of some data on imports and exports waste.
Therefore, the key elements remain essentially
the same as set out in EM 15359/01 and cleared by your Committee
In supporting the Common Position, the Government
made clear that further proposals to increase the frequency of
reporting for the regulation would be unwelcome. The compromise
proposal is not ideal in all respects but meets our key concerns
on this issue and minimises the risk of increased costs to business
and government. We believe there are benefits in accepting this
second reading deal, and thereby avoiding conciliation. The Government
therefore supports the compromise proposal.
A meeting of COREPER on 3 July confirmed its
unanimous position in favour of the compromise proposal. The European
Parliament in its Second Reading on 4 July also voted to accept
the compromise proposal. Thus, the regulation on waste statistics
has been agreed, and awaits formal adoption and publication in
the Official Journal.
I enclose a copy of the compromise text for
your information (changes from the Common Position are highlighted).
15 July 2002