EU plans to scrap laws on clean air and waste recycling

Source: The Guardian

EU vice-president Frans Timmermans gave paper copies of the proposal to ditch clean air and recycling laws to commissioners. Photograph: Martijn Beekman/AFP/Getty Images

EU plans to tackle air pollution that causes tens of thousands of premature deaths and make countries recycle more of their rubbish are to be scrapped, according to leaked documents.

At risk are a clean air directive designed to reduce the health impacts from air pollution caused by vehicles, industry and power plants, and a waste directive that would set states the target of recycling 70% of waste by 2030.

In a bid to prevent leaks, the EU’s powerful vice-president Frans Timmermans presented paper versions of the work plan proposals to the bloc’s commissioners on Wednesday, which were then collected afterwards, but copies have been seen by the Guardian.

No final decision will be taken until another commissioners’ meeting before the plan’s launch next Tuesday. The EU president, Jean-Claude Juncker, will be keenly gauging reactions to today’s leak in the European parliament, where cross-party support for the proposals is strong.

“If these packages really have been withdrawn, we would object in the strongest possible terms,” the British Conservative MEP Julie Girling told the Guardian. “Mr Juncker has chosen the wrong targets. The air quality directive really is a good package of legislation intended to improve the air that we all breathe.”

“It is clear that Timmermans wants to kill the packages but we still have a week left to organise maximum pressure and ensure that stupid decisions are not taken,” the Green MEP Claude Turmes said. “Worse health through air pollution and more resource-dependency would be economic suicide.”

The draft communication divides legislative proposals into three groups – new initiatives, plans needing adjustment, and proposals to be withdrawn.

One of those to be withdrawn is an ambitious circular economy directive which would phase out landfill dumping by 2025 and, by 2030, oblige EU states to recycle or reuse 70% of their waste, 80% of their product packaging, 90% of their paper (by 2025), with similar goals for plastics, wood, glass and metals.

Read more

Advertisements