EU Environment Report: May/June 2013 | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
EU Environment Report: May/June 2013

EU Environment Report: May/June 2013

In this issue...

Chemicals:
Governments agree on global ban on flame retardant HBCD
Proposal to remove inconsistencies from Biocides Regulation
Commission extends exemption for lead in vehicle components
Commission set to change REACH rules on nanomaterials
New proposals by ECHA under REACH Regulation

Climate Change:
China's new system for National Emissions Trading anticipated for 2016
EU adopts new CO2 emissions regulations for cars

Energy:
Consultation by European Commission finds strong backing for rules on shale gas extraction
Council adopts offshore oil and gas safety directive

Other:
Consultation shows support for environmental inspection powers for European Commission

The Months Ahead:
Workshops & Conferences

Governments agree on global ban on flame retardant HBCD
On 9 May 2013, governments from around the world agreed at a meeting in Geneva to add the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane ("HBCD") to a list of 22 other substances targeted for global elimination under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. HBCD is currently used in polystyrene foam in approximately one third of the EU building insulation market. From August 2015, use of HBCD will be restricted in the EU under REACH.

Proposal to remove inconsistencies from Biocides Regulation
On 16 May 2013, the European Commission ("Commission") published a legislative proposal to address discrepancies in the new Biocides Regulation 528/2012. The current legislation prohibits articles treated with biocides if they have not been approved at the EU level, regardless of whether they have been approved in national jurisdictions. The proposal would remove this, and other, inconsistencies and errors. It is expected that the new Regulation will be adopted before the end of this year.

Commission extends exemption for lead in vehicle components
On 17 May 2013, the EU adopted a new Directive which extends the permission for lead in certain vehicle components. The current EU Directive on end-of-life vehicles (Directive 2000/53) bans the use of specific substances, including lead, in components and materials of vehicles which came on the market after July 2003. However, there are various exemptions from the ban. The new Directive extends the application of the exemption for lead in solders in electrical glazing applications on glass, except for soldering in laminated glazing, for vehicles type- approved before 1 January 2016.

Commission set to change REACH rules on nanomaterials
On 24 June 2013, the Commission launched a public consultation on whether to tighten the information requirements for nanomaterials under Regulation 1907/2006 on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals ("REACH Regulation"). According to the consultation, the existing requirements are too general and do not ensure that sufficient information is provided on nanomaterials. Therefore, taking into account the conclusions in the Commission's "Second Regulatory Review on Nanomaterials" from December 2012 and the Commission’s "General Review of REACH" from February 2013, this public consultation is focused on technical provisions in the annexes to the REACH Regulation, which the Commission may propose to amend later in 2013, depending on the results of this consultation. The deadline for replying to the consultation is 13 September 2013.

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