Member states warned over air and water pollution laws

The Commission has launched legal actions and formal warning letters to several EU Member States for failing to comply with legislation on water and air quality.

The Commission has sent final written warnings to nine Member
States (Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Portugal, the UK and Sweden) for failing to meet the
December 2003 deadline to transpose the EU Water Framework
directive into national law.

The directive aims to improve the management of Europe's
freshwater rivers, lakes and wetlands.

A further batch of first written warnings have also been sent to
France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The
five countries failed to meet a December 2000 deadline for
installing proper treatment for waste-water discharges from cities
and towns with more than 15,000 inhabitants, the Commission has
announced in a statement.

In a simultaneous move, the Commission has issued first warnings
to nine Member States (Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and the UK) for missing a transposition
deadline aimed at reducing air pollution in urban areas. All failed
to produce air pollution-reduction plans for nitrogen dioxide and
particulate matter that are considered crucial to protecting
children's health.

The decisions came out shortly after a WHO international
ministerial conference adopted an

action planto protect children from
health threats due to environmental pollution (see

The action is part of the EU strategy to combat diseases related
to environmental pollution, know as the SCALE initiative (Science,
Children, Awareness, Legislation, Evaluation).


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