EU’s Assembly of local and regional authorities has voted a set of measures to progress on environmental law implementation in Europe. At stake is the current lack of coherence and consistency in monitoring and reporting to ensure environmental legislation is effectively applied . Amongst the adopted measures is to automatize and digitalise reporting tools and to establish guidance documents and implementation scorecards. Local and regional authorities are responsible for implementing 70% of European environmental legislation.
Today, there is an unsatisfactory level of implementation of environmental law in Europe with a lack of coherence and consistency in reporting and compliance assurance requirements across EU environmental law. “We first need to undertake a comprehensive inventory of environmental monitoring and reporting obligations and an assessment of administrative costs endured by cities and regions”, recommended Andres Jaadla (EE/ALDE), CoR rapporteur of the opinion ‘EU environment law: improving reporting and compliance’ and member of Rakvere City Council.
Amongst CoR’s proposals is to automatize and digitalise reporting tools, to establish guidance documents and implementation scorecards and to further promote “Structured Implementation and Information Frameworks”. Local leaders highlight specific good examples in environmental monitoring and reporting such as WISE, an EU data collection and information service on water.
Rakvere’s city counsellor declared: “We call on the European Commission to closely associate the European Committee of the Regions with future programmes that aim at improving environmental implementation and governance, such as the upcoming Environmental Implementation Review initiative”. Andres Jaadla will moderate a conference on 13 September 2016 co-organised by the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission on this matter, within the framework the CoR/EC Joint Technical Platform for Cooperation on the Environment.
“Spatial information and earth observation tools such as GMES, GEOSS and EyeonEarth should be further developed for streamlining environmental monitoring and reporting” added Andres Jaadla. “As it is better implemented, the INSPIRE directive could become a key eGovernment tool that can make compliance assurance and enforcement of EU environmental legislation more efficient”, highlighted Jaadla.
CoR’s Outlook Opinion ‘EU environment law: improving reporting and compliance’ has been requested by the European Commission in the framework of the Better Regulation Agenda. The EC fitness check on streamlining environmental monitoring and reporting requirements is to be delivered in 2017.
The European environmental acquis is the body of law developed over the last 40 years. It has steadily expanded and covers today all sectors, including water, air, nature, waste, noise, and chemicals as well as cross-cutting issues such as environmental impact assessment.