Cross-cutting tools and approaches

The X-cutting Expert Team is set-up to support regulatory practitioners who are responsible for the development of systems, processes, procedures and new ways of working. The team is primarily concerned with x-cutting regulatory systems rather than sector specific ones. The aims of the team are:

  • To make regulators more efficient & effective
  • Identify and develop overarching tools to support regulators and the implementation of new regulation
  • To contribute to the development of capacity within member organisations and of a level playing field within Europe
  • To work on the identification and contribution to the solution of specific problems


Key areas

  • Legal framework for inspections
  • Compliance assurance
  • Peer reviews & capacity building
  • Permitting
  • Enforcement
  • Data analysis & sampling
  • Alternatives approaches (eg. Choosing appropriate interventions)
  • Environmental Management Systems
  • Reporting and indicators
  • Information technology in regulation (eg. Apps, handhelds, integrated databases etc)
  • Better/smarter regulation
  • Risk assessment
  • Better implementation & development of cross-cutting legislation such as the Environmental Liability Directive, the Environmental Crime Directive

Related projects

  • Implementation challenge 2021

    IMPEL has carried out a few similar surveys in recent years which gave a great deal of useful information.  The situation, however, has changed dramatically with the declaration of a climate emergency by many countries, a huge rise in awareness on plastics and global biodiversity decline.  This situation has been significantly exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly derailed regulatory programmes and will ultimately affect public sector budgets and the finances of those expected to comply with environmental legislation. This work is needed to fully identify and quantify these emerging challenges and seek to highlight opportunities and solutions to support the regulatory community. The work will also directly inform the creation of a Multiannual Strategic Plan for 2022 onwards.

    [Read more]
  • Climate Emergency Umbrella Programme

    The declaration of a climate emergency (as well as an increasing awareness of the impact of plastic, biodiversity decline and now the impacts of a global pandemic & potential green recovery) are having a profound impact on policy, how we regulate and on those that we regulate. The pressures to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, the reduction of carbon or supporting green recovery are increasing yet few regulators have the correct tools to begin to tackle these issues. This programme hopes to tackle these issues by designing tools and approaches that regulators can use to meet these emerging challenges. It is proposed that a programme of work is established that will cover the period 2021-2024.

    [Read more]
  • IMPEL Mini Conference on Compliance Assurance

    Knowledge of the successful implementation of many of regulatory enforcement tools is often limited within the regulatory community.  The ability to showcase these tools and approaches is needed to help make regulatory bodies more effective and efficient and to ultimately give high levels of environmental protection.

    [Read more]
  • Financial Provisions

    When sites go into liquidation provisions are generally not made for environmental clean-up and leave substantial environmental legacies which need subsequently to be addressed. Different solutions have been sought across Europe and include the use of insurance policies, financial provisions, and bonds. The issue of insolvency remains and even if provisions are made these are often ignored by the liquidator with the result that nothing is left for the environment as it is seen as subservient to company law. Ultimately lengthy legal battles may still result in the tax payer covering the expense – in direct contradiction of the polluter pays principle.

    [Read more]
  • Criteria for the Assessment of the Environmental Damage (CAED)

    The project aims to define criteria for the assessment of environmental damage and imminent threat of damage and build technical and procedural capacity in screening cases and determining clues and evidence of environmental damage and threat of damage under the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD), caused by environmental incidents, violations, eco-criminal acts.

    [Read more]
  • Mapping of the European Agencies involved in implementing the environmental acquis

    The IMPEL network has grown significantly since 2008 when it became an independent Association registered under Belgian Law. In 2008 there were 38 member authorities in 2008 versus 51 in 2016. However, there are still significant gaps in IMPEL’s membership as well as active involvement in project activities. This is particularly clear given IMPEL’s recent re-structuring to include Nature Protection and Land & Water activities in its work programme. More than that though, there is also a clear need to work at a sub-national level with regional and local authorities who manage and carry out implementation and enforcement activities. This was reiterated by the European Commission during a recent meeting with the IMPEL Board in Brussels on 27 May 2016 but also with the Committee of the Regions who hosted the General Assembly in Brussels in 2014. Up to now, IMPEL’s membership from sub-national authorities is rather limited and this needs to change if we are to improve implementation more broadly in Europe.

    [Read more]
  • Capacity Building and Training

    In the last several years IMPEL and the European Commission have issued their positions concerning capacity building and consequently different IMPEL projects are now taking the initiative to develop their ideas on how to support its members in implementing the products that they deliver.

    [Read more]
  • Use of technology in regulation

    All inspectorates are required to be as efficient and effective as possible whilst still offering existing or even expanded services. Recent IMPEL Review Initiatives have yielded information on various technological advances being made by regulatory agencies within Europe. This mini conference intends to share the learning of not only what is out there but also the back story of the pitfalls/costs of development & teething issues that lead to the finished product. This is not about sharing minimum criteria more the art of the possible and how to get there as efficiently as possible.

    [Read more]
  • Environmental incident and emergency response

    There is a diversity of national laws and regulations requiring operators to put in place plans and arrangements to prevent, respond to, and remediate environmental damage as a result of natural and technological incidents. Environment Protection Agencies also operate under a variety of duties and requirements to help operators prevent incidents, and to plan and execute incident and emergency response. This diversity of duties and requirements is likely to have resulted in inconsistent arrangements to prevent, and respond to, environmental incidents.

    [Read more]
  • Broadening IMPEL membership

    The volume of guidance materials produced, workshops and best practice seminars carried out makes IMPEL the leading network for public sector practitioners on environmental law in Europe. Nevertheless, there are currently issues with respect to fairness, representation and infiltration within IMPEL’s existing membership profile.

    [Read more]
  • IMPEL Conference, 2018

    After 2 consecutive years of organising EU networks conferences (2016 Utrecht and 2017 Oxford), IMPEL recognised the need holding a dedicated conference on the work, progress and way forward of the network, the 5 expert teams and their members; especially in relation to the Environmental Compliance Assurance Initiative by the European Commission.

    [Read more]
  • Assess the use of Copernicus Satellite images in environmental and nature conservation inspections and their evidential value

    Environmental law enforcement may be supported by highly updated and valuable geographic information, gathering, storing, managing and assisting the field activities. However, still uncertain are the methods, institutional use and the legal application of these tools for the environmental and land use analysis. Therefore, this project aims to identify the potential users of these remote sensing data, based on Copernicus services and understand how this information can support the environmental and nature conservation inspections inspection activities within the specificity of each IMPEL members involved and how it has already been applied and can be applied in the future, considering main procedures, methods, (open) access to such procedures and methods and legal constrains (concerning geo-spatial evidence appliance in different countries legal background).

    [Read more]
  • REMAS – IMPEL Requirements of Remas Criteria

    This report has been produced to incorporate IMPEL’s views within the Remas project, and in with particular reference to the development of the ‘Remas Criteria’. The Remas project is co-funded by the EU LIFE-Environment programme, the UK Environment Agency, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and the Irish Environmental Protection Agency. The project aims to reach a consensus on the value of independently certified environmental management system (EMS) to the environmental regulator, and to identify which voluntary compliance measures most effectively protect the environment and why. The ‘Remas Criteria’ are defined as those elements of an EMS that are considered to be key to improving environmental performance and aiding regulation.

    [Read more]
  • Benchmarking on Quality Parameters for Environmental Inspectorates

    The project aimed at identifying and defining clear, transparent and comparable quality parameters for environmental inspectorates, thereby giving the inspectorates the possibility to compare and learn from each other. Further, the project discussed how the quality parameters found suitable can be used and exploited.

    [Read more]
  • Practical Application of Better Regulation Principles in Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Environmental Inspection Authorities

    This IMPEL project aimed to provide practical solutions and share good practice among environmental inspection authorities in Europe on initiatives to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of regulatory activities such as permitting and inspection. The benefits of the project were to:

    [Read more]
  • Reporting to the public

    The objective of the project was to identify what core information on environmental inspections carried out should be provided to the public and how this information can best be provided, especially via electronic means (Internet), and to give recommendations. The project was successful in finding out what information is made available to the public and in what form it is available.

    [Read more]
  • Common Regulatory Frameworks in Member States – Comparison Project

    Better regulation initiatives to improve efficiency and effectiveness whilst maintaining or improving levels of environment protection are increasingly being used by environmental inspectorates in Member States often in response to challenges such as limited resources and increasing pressures on the environment.

    [Read more]
  • Exploring the Use and Effectiveness of Complementary Approaches to Environmental Inspection for Ensuring Compliance

    Complementary approaches provide a very useful contribution to the toolkit of regulators in implementing environmental law and achieving environmental outcomes. They are defined as actions which are used in addition to environmental inspections to help achieve aims such as compliance. Some examples of complementary approaches to environmental inspections are:

    [Read more]
  • Comparison of methodologies used for the environmental administrative fine calculation

    Administrative fines are available to almost all of the replied countries. Having as starting point that the development and the present status of the relevant administrative legislative frame varies, significantly among EU MS, administrative fines are applied with deviated rationale and methodology.

    [Read more]
  • 4 Networks Conference Oxford, 2017

    Building on the momentum generated by the very successful 2016 Networks Conference that took place in Utrecht 12-13 May , this Terms of Reference sets out a plan to go further in the development of partnerships established with the networks of Judges (EU FJE), Prosecutors (ENPE) and Police (ENVI CrimeNet).

    [Read more]
  • Regulatory Strategy mini-conference

    It has been identified in various IMPEL Review Initiatives (IRIs) that many organisations fail to clearly articulate their overarching regulatory strategy such that all regulatory work can be clearly aligned to. There is also a requirement in Doing the Right Things methodology, to set context and aims which should be aligned to the regulatory strategy. By understanding what options are available regulators will be able to create/refine/develop their strategy.

    [Read more]
  • Big Data mini-conference

    It has been identified in various IMPEL Review Initiatives (IRIs) that many organisations struggle with the data they hold on regulated sites and the environment. This conference will attempt to share best practice and potential solutions that can be shared to maximise the value of the data we hold.

    [Read more]
  • Development of an easy and flexible risk assessment tool as a part of the planning of environmental inspections linked to European environmental law and the RMCEI (easyTools)

    A key issue of the “Recommendation on minimum criteria for environmental inspections” (RMCEI) and the IMPEL “Step by step guidance book for planning of environmental inspection” is the prioritisation of environmental inspections. An essential part of this prioritisation is the assessment of the probability of environmental disruptions caused by industrial or comparable activities. These risk assessments also play a key role in inspection planning according to the Seveso II Directive and the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).

    [Read more]
  • IMPEL Reference book for Environmental Inspections

    The purpose of the IMPEL Reference Book on Environmental Inspection is to provide a tool to environmental inspectors in the European Union. It is mainly meant for field inspectors but can also be useful to top and middle management.

    [Read more]
  • Minimum Criteria of Inspections: Planning and Reporting

    IMPEL finalised the series of guidance on Minimum Criteria for Inspections, which gave the bases for the RMCEI regulation, and published a Reference Book for Environmental Inspection. The guidance includes the following documents:

    [Read more]
  • Performance indicators for environmental inspection systems

    The aim of the project was to work out performance indicators for the environmental inspectorates. Concerning the scope of the project, it was agreed that it should cover indicators related to the RMCEI. The indicators should include input, output and outcome indicators.

    [Read more]
  • Resolution of environmental conflicts by neighbourhood dialogue

    This project consist of four phases, carried out between 2005 and 2010. Neighourhood dialogues prevent, manage and resolve conflicts effectively and efficiently by building up trust, by looking for win-win solutions and by creating sustainable good neighbourhood relations. Their goal is to share information openly, to develop recommendations for the company and sometimes even to cooperate and negotiate to agree on a solution.

    [Read more]
  • Doing the Right Things Methodology

    Phase I. Comparison programme on prioritising environmental inspections The general objective of the Comparison Programme is to acquire a full picture of how different Member States carry out inspections and how they exchange experiences between one another. Another objective is that EU inspectors exchange information and hold discussions on ways how to carry out inspections in order to enforce environmental laws. The exchange of information will promote cross-border co-operation as well as mutual understanding between the countries. The objective of this project was to Explore and analyse similarities and differences in the approach of prioritising environmental inspections by inspecting authorities in IMPEL-Member States, to acquire understanding in the way inspecting authorities in IMPEL Member States deal with “options” in their inspection plans and programmes and to promote the availability of practical information on the environmental situation and the effectiveness of the policymaking process to the policy-makers.

    [Read more]
  • 4 Network Conference Utrecht, 2016

    There are two main themes that drive the need for this conference: To strengthen collaboration in the enforcement chain and, To encourage further innovation in compliance and enforcement. The idea of a Networks Conference is essential if we want to examine and look at ways of improving the enforcement chain as a whole. To this end, further coordination with sister organisations: EU FJE (EU Judges network) and ENPE (EU prosecutor network) and ENVI CrimeNet is needed.

    [Read more]
  • Mapping the regulatory toolkit

    The regulatory toolkit is not commonly known or fully understood in its entirety due to rapid changes in regulatory practice and advancements in technology. This project seeks to identify practices used primarily in Europe but also from around the world (through questionnaires & literature search) so that they may be mapped against the compliance spectrum. This will enhance understanding of all regulators enabling them to apply these new tools and practices appropriately in tandem to aid compliance.

    [Read more]
  • Implementation Challenge – Embedding the results in IMPEL’s work programme.

    IMPEL recently carried out a study – ‘Challenges in the practical implementation of EU environmental law and how IMPEL could help overcome them’ – involving a questionnaire survey and desk-based research to identify key implementation challenges faced by environmental authorities in its member countries. This has provided very useful information to help focus IMPEL’s work programmes for the future. Further work is now needed to elaborate on the more detailed nature of the implementation challenges that have been identified and to investigate cross-cutting issues and themes. This will provide a valuable input to help identify specific priorities for IMPEL’s 5 Expert Teams and to shape IMPEL’s multi-annual strategy for the future.

    [Read more]
  • Risk Criteria Database

    The project was developed because of the strong demand for effective instruments for aiming inspections, in an optimized way, for the check of respect of EU legislation related to human activities; not only for large Industries but also for other human activities. The quality of the environment also depends on smaller installations and on agriculture, with potential and actual impact over environmental compartments such as air, soil, water.

    [Read more]
  • Implementation of the iDepend decision support tool

    The complex and interdependent nature of the environment, business and regulation means conventional methods of analysing environmental risks and choosing appropriate ‘counter measures’, or ‘interventions’, may not be effective. The Choosing Appropriate Interventions project has developed a practical tool for regulators, inspectorates and inspectors to help them make the right choice of intervention and share good practice and experience.

    [Read more]
  • Compliance assurance through company compliance management systems

    In many countries industrial companies are supervised by authorities who regularly carry out site inspections and perform other “traditional” compliance checks like assessing emissions reports. But how effective and efficient are these output oriented supervision activities in terms of achieving good compliance with environmental regulation or even environmental performance beyond compliance? Previous IMPEL projects showed that the smart use of the ability of companies to control their risks using management systems can contribute significantly to the effectiveness and the efficiency of public supervision. This seems especially true for relatively big and complex companies whose processes are potentially risky for the environment. There are quite strong indications that, if supervision uses EMSs/CMSs under the right conditions and in a suitable way, the following two objectives can be achieved:

    [Read more]
  • Choosing Appropriate Interventions, Phase 3

    In order to improve the effectiveness of Environmental Inspectorates’ implementation of the environmental acquis, this project aims to provide IMPEL members with a toolkit for choosing interventions, according to circumstances. The tool has been developed and tested in phase 1 and 2 of the project. During phase 3 improvements will be made to the iDEPEND modelling tool, a host site will be indentified and the benefits of dependency modelling and the toolkit will be broader communicated.

    [Read more]
  • IMPEL for Sustainability

    The project “IMPEL for sustainability-Heal the world” is to get insight in the interest of the IMPEL network on Education for sustainability topic. The primary objective would be to create a network of experts working together on the deployment of environmental education for sustainability reference in Europe for all educative community and citizenship in general, which comes to be called education for lifelong.

    [Read more]
  • Knowledge and Information Programme

    In the last several years IMPEL and the European Commission have issued their positions concerning capacity building and consequently different IMPEL projects are now taking the initiative to develop their ideas on how to support its members in implementing the products that they deliver.

    [Read more]
  • Geospatial Intelligence for Environmental Damage Assessment (GIEDA)

    Rapid growing of geospatial techniques, like spatial statistics and earth observation remote sensing technology, as well as recent advances in artificial intelligence, increased the ability in monitoring environmental processes. In the last decades, there has been a growing awareness that geospatial technology has the ability to monitor, inspect and assess the environment, producing the information needed by regulatory practitioners, supporting the investigation of eco-criminal acts and environmental laws infringement. However, competent authorities across EU need to find out how information generated using geospatial intelligence best meets the requirements for the investigation of specific eco-criminal acts in the most efficient manner, in order to be used in court.

    [Read more]
  • 4 Network Conferences

    Working with our key partner, the European Commission, this conference has provided a forum for highlighting common challenges and practical solutions whilst examining case studies that help the less experienced to learn from more experienced practitioners.

    [Read more]
  • 4 Networks Conference, Rome 2023

    The overall goal of the 4 Networks Conferences is to bring all relevant parties together to debate joint efforts to fight environmental crime

    [Read more]
  • 4 Networks Conference, Virtual 2021

    IMPEL, EnviCrimeNet, ENPE, and EUFJE organised 4 Network Conference as virtual event with the support of LIFE+ SATEC Project, to bring together specialised practitioners involved in fighting environmental crime.

    [Read more]
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