Seveso III update

Published:  12 April, 2012

As from 1 June 2015, stricter requirements will apply to companies classified ‘SEVESO’ in order to prevent and control accidents involving dangerous chemical products.

A European Commission proposal to replace Council Directive 96/82/EC (the ’Seveso II Directive’) has been agreed by Parliament and Council.

Amongst other things, the new Directive aims to update the existing legislation to take account of changes in the EU classification of dangerous substances, strengthen provisions on public access to safety information, and introduce stricter standards for inspections of installations

The Commission proposal (18257/10) presented on December 2010, aims at replacing, by 1 June 2015, the current Seveso II Directive 1which applies to around 10 000 establishments in the EU. Its main objectives are:

− align Annex I (defining the substances falling within the scope of the directive) to changes in the EU system of classification of dangerous substances to which it refers;

− adapt Annex I to deal with situations occurring after the alignment where substances are included/excluded, that do/do not present a major-accident hazard;

− strengthen the provisions relating to public access to safety information, participation in decision-making and access to justice, and improve the way information is collected, managed, made available and shared;

− introduce stricter standards for inspections of installations to ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of safety rules.

The key issues were the scope of the directive and Annex I (list of substances), the relation with the Convention on Access to Information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters (Aarhus Convention), as well as the use of delegated acts.

After the European Parliament adopts its position on first reading - which is expected for June 2012 - the directive will be officially adopted by the Council in the second half of 2012. A first reading agreement will allow extra-time to operators and competent authorities to adapt to the new provisions by 2015.

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