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Commission Sees No Need to Extend Scope of Article 2 of Directive 2003/35/EC of 26 May 2003 At the Moment

Report from the European Commission on the Application and Effectiveness of Directive 2003/35 Providing for Public Participation in Respect of the Drawing Up of Certain Plans and Programmes Relating to the Environment

29.04.2010 |Anke Stock

The European Commission decided against extending the scope of the Directive 2003/35 implementing the Aarhus Convention on public involvement in the drawing up of certain plans and programmes affecting the environment. The conclusion was reached in a report (COM(2010)143 final) published on 14 April 2010.

The Directive gives the public a say in plans and programmes related to activities listed in annex 1. In particular Article 2 of the Directive aims to give full effect to Article 7 (public participation during the preparation of executive regulations and/or generally applicable legally binding normative instruments) of the Aarhus Convention. This applies to waste, batteries, nitrate pollution in water, hazardous waste, packaging waste and ambient air quality assessment.

The Commission’s report concluded that Article 2 of the Directive has been applied not broadly so far. However, it had the effect of firmly establishing the right of the public to participate in the decision-making process on plans and programmes. The Commission called upon States to uphold its efforts to achieve real participation.

However, the Commission noted that there was no necessity to propose amendments or extensions to the scope of Article 2 to other plans or programmes than those currently subject to it. In due time the Commission will examine the interrelation between this Directive and Directive 2001/42/EC, the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, and present further results and possibly ideas for future amendments.

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