Eco-audit proposal overhauled

Companies considering participation in the EC's proposed eco-auditing scheme will have to commit themselves to continuous environmental improvement following revisions to the Regulation which will establish the scheme before and during a meeting of Environment Ministers in December. The European Commission's original proposal has also been amended to clarify the relationship between environmental audits and statements, the role and qualifications of verifiers, and the circumstances in which sites may be deregistered or suspended from the scheme.

The proposal was agreed by eleven Member States at the Environment Council in December. Germany, which entered a fundamental reserve against the proposal, holds the key to when it can be finally adopted.

The Regulation will come into force 21 months after it is adopted - that is, towards the end of 1994 at the earliest. Last year's draft proposed a lead-in period of only 12 months. This appears to have been extended primarily to allow tim

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