EC urges Bulgaria to improve rules on industrial pollution, projects' environmental impact

EC urges Bulgaria to improve rules on industrial pollution, projects' environmental impact

The European Commission (EC) on Wednesday urged Bulgaria to fully bring national rules on pollution arising from industrial activities in line with the relevant EU legislation.

Although Bulgaria has correctly transposed most of the Industrial Emissions Directive's provisions, there are certain aspects which are not correctly reflected," the Commission said in a reasoned opinion on the matter being sent to Bulgarian authorities.

"Among these are the explicit requirement to re-assess the emissions derogation for less strict emission limits each time a permit is reviewed, and to carry out inspections investigating serious environmental complaints, accidents, incidents and occurrences of non-compliance as soon as possible instead of within 30 days," the Commission said.

Industrial activities have a significant impact on the environment and the Industrial Emissions Directive lays down rules on activities which include the prevention or reduction of emissions into air, water and soil and the prevention of waste generation, the Commission noted.

In another reasoned opinion the EU executive arm is sending to Bulgaria, it is calling on the country to enhance its national rules on the environmental impact of public and private projects.

The Commission noted that it sent a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria in March 2019 for failing to correctly transpose EU rules on environmental impact assessment.

"Bulgaria has rectified some of the grievances set out in the letter, however others remain unaddressed. For example, Bulgaria still does not make some elements of the impact assessment available to the public, which is a requirement of the Directive. The Directive also requires that developers include the results from other existing assessments in the impact assessment report, which Bulgaria is not ensuring," the Commission said.

Bulgaria now has two months to respond and take the necessary measures in connection with the two reasoned opinions. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice.

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