UWWTD: rapporteur presents draft report
We submitted our suggestions for amendments to the UWWTD to all MEPs in the European Parliament’s Environment (ENVI) Committee, as well as to other relevant stakeholders.
Nils Torvald MEP – responsible for the UWWTD in the European Parliament – published his draft report on the proposal on 27 March. Our reaction to it is here. We welcome his amendment regarding the energy neutrality targets providing a holistic approach to the matter which reflects the reality of the wastewater sector. Regarding EPR, we maintain our strong support for the Commission proposal as an appropriate way of implementing the Polluter Pays Principle in the water sector.
We co-signed a letter from a large group of stakeholders to support the EPR financing mechanism proposed by the European Commission. Doing so will help to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the costs involved in removing micro-pollutants from waste water in the proposed revision of the UWWTD.
The Commission’s Working Group on Water Reuse met on 13-14 March to discuss the future delegated act on the technical specifications for the water reuse risk management plans.
Water and agriculture
Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation: Parliament timetable agreed
Following weeks of tense discussions, the Parliament’s ENVI and AGRI committees agreed on the timetable for approving the first-reading position on the SUR. AGRI should vote on its report in July while ENVI should vote in September 2023. The plenary vote is indicatively set for the beginning of October. Negotiations with the Council should stretch well into 2024.
In response to the Council’s request, the Commission committed to providing additional data on the impact of the SUR on food security. However, data on the pesticide use per crop and substance and Member State are not available, the Commission stated.
EurEau has called on decision-makers to improve the protection of drinking water resources.
You can read our position here.
Pesticides: Commission fixes rules for digital use records
The European Commission published the Implementing Regulation as regards the content and format of the records of Plant Protection Products (PPP) pursuant to Regulation 1107/2009 and its Annex.
EurEau welcomes this publication, as it confirms that under Art. 67(1) of Regulation 1107/2009, professional PPP users are to make the relevant information available to the competent authority on request. Furthermore, third parties have the right to access that information. It also stipulates that PPP users must keep the records electronically using a machine-readable format and must record each use of a PPP without undue delay from 2026 onwards. The records must comprise the product name, the date of application, the amount applied, the unit of land and the number of hectares treated.
This information should facilitate risk assessment and management measures as required by the Drinking Water Directive.
Water and the environment
WFD, EQSD and GWD: Amendments submitted
We submitted our suggestions for amendments to the Rapporteur and Shadow Rapporteurs in the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee.
We stress the importance of prioritising control at source measures to tackle emissions in the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Environmental Quality Standards Directive (EQSD) and the Groundwater Directive (GWD), as well as in the upstream regulations on chemicals, industrial emissions, pharmaceuticals and plant protection products. We also support the Rapporteur’s amendment for an EPR scheme to cover the monitoring costs.
Chemicals: CLP annexes on new hazard classes published
The Official Journal of the European Union published the Commission’s Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/707 amending Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 as regards hazard classes and criteria for the classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) of substances and mixtures (31 March).
The Commission has adopted new hazard classes and criteria for endocrine disruptor (ED), persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT), very persistent and very mobile (vPvM), persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substances and mixtures.
The new classification will be used across the EU legislation and will eventually allow for the faster restriction of hazardous substances under REACH when it is revised and the generic approach to risk management is extended to the new hazard classes. We are very satisfied that persistent and mobile substances that pose a special risk to water have been included. Read more …
Universal PFAS restriction: ECHA Committees launches public consultation
The socio-economic (SEAC) and risk assessment (RAC) ECHA Committees have launched the first public consultation on the universal PFAS restriction, running from 22 March to 25 September. ECHA will have a webinar on 5 April to explain the consultation.
The restriction proposal covers 14 sectoral uses, divided into sub-uses, demanding an immediate (after 18 months of the entry into force) ban for many of the uses, including most of those with consumer products, and a ban after transitional periods of five or twelve years for those industrial uses whose alternative assessments showed that no alternatives were fully available.
Energy: Co-legislators reach agreement on renewables
Council and Parliament agreed on all remaining details of the revised Renewable Energy Directive. The deal includes a binding target to raise the share of renewables in the EU’s overall energy consumption to 42.5% by 2030. Furthermore, Member States can opt for an additional and indicative 2.5%. For comparison, the current share stands at about 22%. Part of the agreement are targets for buildings and, importantly, measures to speed up permitting processes for wind and solar projects through so-called acceleration areas.
We welcome the agreement and hope that Member States will take measures to support renewable generation in the water services sector.
The directive should be officially approved before the summer break.
Waste Framework Directive: Commission proposals postponed
The targeted revision of this directive, initially announced for June 2023, has been postponed due to a negative opinion of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board. The revision will be limited to food waste and textiles.
Pharmaceuticals: Legislative proposals again postponed
The Commission proposals for the revision of the pharmaceuticals legislation, due on 29 March 2023, have been postponed again. The new publication date is not known yet.
EurEau has urged the Commission to strengthen the environmental credentials of this legislation through an extended Environmental Risk Assessment and measures limiting over-the-counter sales of particularly harmful substances.
Industrial Emission Directive: Council adopts general approach
The Environment Council adopted its position on the IED at its 16 March meeting. While the general approach introduced no water-specific amendments and generally lowered the environmental ambition of the Commission proposal, it endorsed the proposal’s binding water efficiency targets for industry, known as environmental performance limit values.
Meanwhile, the Parliament’s ENVI committee has postponed its scheduled vote on the text from 27 April to 25 May 2023. The AGRI opinion vote has also been postponed (to 25 April), while the ITRE opinion, calling for less administrative burden on industry, was adopted on 29 March.
Water as an essential service
Cyber Security: Digital Europe funding programme published
The Commission published its 2023-24 work programme for Europe’s digital transition including a dedicated section for cybersecurity.
The specific work programme on cybersecurity reserves €35 million for developing a Cybersecurity Emergency Mechanism. Its goal is to finance critical entities to conduct cybersecurity audits, and incident response services provided by a group of certified security providers (European Cyber Reserve). Another €84 million will be used to enhance Security Operation Centres (SOCs), and regional structures to monitor, predict, and respond to cyber incidents.
Critical Raw Materials: falls short on circularity
The proposed Critical Raw Materials (CRM) Regulation offers welcome safeguards from pollution for water bodies but fails to address the needs of critical entities and falls short in its circularity ambitions.
We give a cautious welcome to the legislative proposal for a Critical Raw Materials Regulation. We strongly support the Commission’s choice not to exempt strategic raw materials projects from performing environmental impact assessments. Our reaction to the proposal…
Raw materials are found at the beginning of all industrial value chains. The focus of this Regulation is on non-energy, non-agricultural raw materials that are important for the EU economy, the supplies of which are subject to a high level of supply risk.