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Monitoring and reporting of environment legislation

Other actions

In addition to the Fitness Check, there are many ongoing streamlining actions driven by sectoral initiatives. Here is a non-exhaustive overview.

INSPIRE implementation

Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) entered into force on the 15th  of May 2007. The Directive was incorporated into the European Economic Area Agreement by EEA Joint Committee Decision (JCD) No 55/2010 of 30 April 2010, which entered into force on 1 July 2011.

The aim of INSPIRE is to facilitate better environmental policy across the EU. This will be achieved by:

  • improving the joining up of and access to existing spatial data across the European Union at a local, regional, national and international level;
  • facilitating improvements in the sharing of spatial data between public authorities;
  • and improving public access to spatial data.

Under INSPIRE Member States must make available in a consistent format spatial datasets in scope of the Directive and also create network services for accessing the datasets. Datasets in scope of INSPIRE are ones which come under one or more of the 34 environmental themes set out in the Directive Annexes. Milestones are set for when metadata, data, and network services for datasets in each Annex are to be available. Technical Implementing Rules have subsequently been adopted to support implementation of INSPIRE.

INSPIRE is based on a number of common principles which are aligned with the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) principles:

  • Data should be collected once and maintained at the level where this can be done most effectively
  • Combine seamlessly spatial data from different sources and share it between many users and applications (the concept of interoperability)
  • Spatial data should be collected at one level of government and shared between all levels
  • Spatial data needed for good governance should be available on conditions that are not restricting its extensive use
  • It should be easy to discover which spatial data is available, to evaluate its fitness for purpose and to know which conditions apply for its use

The Commission published its report which was due under Article 23 of the INSPIRE Directive (2007/2/EC). Together with this report, it presented a detailed evaluation which was carried out in the context of its Regulatory Fitness (REFIT) programme, one of the priorities of the Commission under its Better Regulation agenda.

 

Repeal of the Standardised Reporting Directive (SRD)

In its 2015 Communication on the Commission Work Programme 2016Annex V, it was announced that a possible repeal of Council Directive 91/692/EEC on standardizing and rationalizing reports on the implementation of certain Directives relating to the environment (SRD) will be proposed in 2016 as a part of the broader Fitness Check of reporting obligations under the environment policy. Most recently this was confirmed by the Staff Working Document "Towards a Fitness Check of EU environmental monitoring and reporting: to ensure effective monitoring, more transparency and focused reporting of EU environment policy".  Directive 91/692/EEC originally aimed to harmonise all reporting requirements under environmental legislation into a three-year cycle. However, not all pieces of legislation were covered and the implementation of Directive 91/692/EEC became burdensome and ineffective also because of the lack of use of electronic tools in the reporting process. Directive 91/692/EEC refers currently to 28 environmental acts covered by its provisions. A significant number of the acts listed have become obsolete and/or been replaced by acts of more recent date. Currently one regulation, nine directives and 23 decisions are in force that make use of the provisions of the Directive. On 15 December 2016 as a second milestone in the process of the Fitness Check on environmental reporting the Commission has adopted a proposal for the repeal of the Standardised Reporting Directive. The Commission also adopted a Communication establishing formal recognition that a certain number of acts of Union law in the field of environment that were adopted under Council Directive 91/692/EEC have become obsolete. Two further implementing acts (Commission Decisions 2011/92/EU and 2010/681/EU) are planned to be repealed via comitology procedures in the future. The repeal process of Directive 91/692/EEC is underpinned by a study prepared by IEEP. Negotiations between the Institutions were concluded by the end of 2017 and the adoption is foreseen along with the Circular Economy package in 2018.  

Structured Implementation and Information Frameworks (SIIFs)

First presented as an idea in the 2012 Commission Communication on Improving the delivery of benefits from EU environment measures: building confidence through better knowledge and responsiveness, Structured Implementation and Information Frameworks ("SIIFs") are aimed at improving how the public is actively informed about the implementation of individual EU environment laws, in particular by setting out guidance for official web-sites. The concept draws on Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information, and the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters ("the Aarhus Convention"), which require key information to be publicised, and Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE), which requires the public to be able to discover, view, download and transform spatial data. For more details, see the final Report and annexes of a study on how well the public is informed about implementation of EU nature directives.

E-PRTR

In 2015-2016, the Commission, assisted by an external consultant, will carry out an extensive evaluation of the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and the EU added value of the Regulation (EC)N° 166/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of 18 January 2006 concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR), which provides publicly available information on pollution emission by EU's major industrial plants. Information on the progress of this evaluation is available here.