ClientEarth Environmental Democracy Update – October 2017

We have seen significant developments in the field of EU environmental democracy throughout the summer of 2017.

We explore these updates and more in ClientEarth’s Democracy Review – see the full update below. We cover information about how European institutions, member states and others are applying laws and regulations on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

We hope you find the update useful.

Anaïs Berthier, Senior Lawyer/Juriste, ClientEarth

Latest updates

Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee

Read the latest analysis by Ludwig Kramer on why the Aarhus Convention Meeting of Parties refuses to adopt EU position and defers decision to 2021.

Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee confirms that access to courts to challenge wind turbine permits cannot be dependent only on distance.

The ACCC confirms public participation obligations regarding the construction of a nuclear power plant in a transboundary context.


Updates from the courts

Landowner can be held liable for waste incineration he did not know about

The Court of Justice has ruled that a national law requiring a landowner to pay a pecuniary fine for the incineration of waste on his land that he did not know about is compatible with EU law.

Ex-post environmental impact assessments can be compatible with EU law

The Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) carried out following the realisation of the project in question is compatible with EU law in the situation where the authorities and the constructors acted in good faith.

European Court of Justice confirms presumption of confidentiality covering EU pilot procedure documents

The European Court of Justice has confirmed the existence of yet another category of documents that can be covered by a presumption of confidentiality.

Chemicals imported for subsequent export do not need to be registered under REACH

The ECJ has confirmed that substances that are imported into the EU with the purpose of being subsequently exported, and which are not placed on the EU market, do not need to be registered under REACH. Maximilian Kemp comments here that this interpretation is not consistent with the objectives of REACH.

EU court enforces transparency obligations in Commission administrative procedures

In this case, the European Court of Justice relies on the Aarhus Convention to confirm that, when it comes to environmental information, only documents that reveal the decision-makers’ deliberations can be kept secret. All other documents, whether or not they relate to the administrative procedure in question, should be disclosed. Maximillian Kemp gives his analysis.

Updates related to the institutions of the EU

New Commission strategy: infringement proceedings only for policy priorities

Ludwig Kramer explains how the Commission has clarified its new strategy to only open infringement proceedings where they align with its policy priorities.




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Sarah Ann Loreth