UK warned on WEEE, noise, waste water

The European Commission has warned the UK that it will face infraction proceedings unless it implements EU Directives on noise, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), urban waste water and ozone depleting substances.

  • WEEE: The UK was one of eight Member States to receive a final written warning, or "reasoned opinion" - the last warning before an application to the European Court of Justice - for failing to transpose by 13 August 2004 the Directive on hazardous substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment and the WEEE Directive.

    Regulations to implement the three Directives are due this summer (ENDS Report 363, pp 50-51 ).

  • Noise: The UK is also one of 11 countries to receive a final warning for failing to transpose the environmental noise Directive by 18 July 2004. A consultation paper on the implementation of the Directive was issued by the Environment Department (DEFRA) earlier this year (ENDS Report 362, p 50 ). DEFRA says it will implement the Directive "as soon as possible" in 2005.

  • Waste water treatment: The Commission announced in July that it has decided to refer the UK to the European Court of Justice for failure to adequately treat the waste water discharged from 13 cities and towns. The Commission sent written warnings to the UK last year. Collection systems and the secondary treatment are still not in place for 13 towns - in Northern Ireland, Scotland and south-east England.

  • Sensitive waters: In another ECJ referral, the Commission proposes to group together two further cases relating to the urban waste water Directive. An assessment of the UK's 1997 review showed that the UK had failed to designate and protect all the rivers and coastal waters that are sensitive to eutrophication due to a very restrictive interpretation of when a receiving water is sensitive.

    The Commission sent a first written warning in 1999, followed by a second warning in 2001. In response, the UK sent additional information and explained its approach. But assessments of the UK's lists "have shown the lists are not complete", the Commission says.

    In parallel, the Commission has been investigating the lack of designation of sensitive rivers and coastal waters in Northern Ireland.

  • Ozone-depleting substances: The UK has also been sent a final warning relating to the EU Regulation on ozone-depleting substances. The Commission says that the UK has not set out the minimum qualification requirements for personnel involved in their recovery, recycling and destruction.

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