Commissie waarschuwt Nederland wegens niet-nakoming afvalrichtlijn


Commissie waarschuwt Nederland wegens niet-nakoming afvalrichtlijn

Zeven lidstaten, waaronder Nederland, krijgen een eerste waarschuwing van de Commissie wegens niet nakoming van de richtlijn inzake het storten van afval. De Commissie gebruikte daarvoor een vergelijkend screeningsonderzoek naar de wetgeving van alle lidstaten.


Brussels, 12 December 2006

Environment: Commission starts legal action against seven Member States over Landfill Directive

The European Commission has decided to start legal action against seven Member States for inadequately transposing the EU's legislation on the landfill of waste into their national law. The Commission is sending first warning letters to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. Compliance with the Landfill Directive is a serious problem throughout the EU. The Commission therefore launched a screening exercise to compare Member States’ national legislation with the Directive to detect where the shortcomings are. The aim is to ensure that landfills operate in full accordance with the Directive i.e. in a way which do not harm human health or the environment.

Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for Environment, said: "The Landfill Directive is an essential measure for protecting people's health and the environment against the dangers that waste can pose. However, it is clear that the directive cannot have its full effect unless Member States turn all of its requirements into their national legislation. I urge them to do so without delay."

The Commission has carried out a check on all Member States' legislation to assess its conformity with the Landfill Directive[1]. This check has so far identified problems with the legislation in seven Member States (in the case of Belgium, this applies to all three regions – Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia). In each of these Member States a variety of the directive’s provisions have not been fully transposed into national or regional law. Infringement cases against other Member States are expected to follow as the check progresses.

Common problems identified in the seven Member States include incomplete, incorrect or non-transposition of:

  • the directive's definitions, for instance of different types of waste and storage methods
  • the directive's scope, including the types of waste that may be exempted from its requirements
  • the three classes of landfill laid down in the directive, for hazardous, non-hazardous or inert waste
  • the requirement of a national strategy to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill
  • the requirement of national measures to ensure certain types of waste are not accepted in landfills, for instance liquid waste and explosive, corrosive or flammable waste
  • the requirement that the prices charged by the operator for use of a landfill must cover all its costs, including its after-care costs for at least 30 years after closure
  • requirements for the continued operation of existing landfills.

Landfill Directive

The Landfill Directive, adopted in 1999, establishes a set of detailed rules with which waste landfills must comply. The objective is to prevent or minimise the negative effects that landfill sites can have, such as pollution of water, soil and air, and emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The directive also helps to promote the recovery and recycling of waste. In particular, the directive bans certain types of waste from being put in landfill sites, for example used tyres, and requires Member States to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste that they landfill to 35% of 1995 levels.

Legal Process

Article 226 of the Treaty gives the Commission powers to take legal action against a Member State that is not respecting its obligations.

If the Commission considers that there may be an infringement of EU law that warrants the opening of an infringement procedure, it addresses a "Letter of Formal Notice" (first written warning) to the Member State concerned, requesting it to submit its observations by a specified date, usually two months.

In the light of the reply or absence of a reply from the Member State concerned, the Commission may decide to address a "Reasoned Opinion" (final written warning) to the Member State. This clearly and definitively sets out the reasons why it considers there to have been an infringement of EU law, and calls upon the Member State to comply within a specified period, usually two months.

If the Member State fails to comply with the Reasoned Opinion, the Commission may decide to bring the case before the Court of Justice. Where the Court of Justice finds that the Treaty has been infringed, the offending Member State is required to take the measures necessary to conform.

Article 228 of the Treaty gives the Commission power to act against a Member State that does not comply with a previous judgement of the European Court of Justice. The article also allows the Commission to ask the Court to impose a financial penalty on the Member State concerned.


[1] Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste