Revision of the Seveso II Directive (96/82/EC)
Government department lead
HSE and the Environment Agency in England and Wales, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland, acting jointly as the Competent Authority. Other departments have an interest including Defra, DCLG, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland HSE.
the European Commission published a proposal to revise the Seveso II Directive (96/82/EC) on 21 December 2010. This Directive, which came into force on 9 December 1996, aims to prevent onshore major accidents and limit the consequences to people and/ or the environment. The Seveso II Directive is currently implemented in Great Britain by the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 1999 and through land-use planning regimes for hazardous substances consents in England, Scotland and Wales.
A European Commission review of Seveso II found that the fundamental approach of the Directive was correct. A new Seveso III Directive is needed because the hazard-based classification system for chemicals, upon which the scope of Seveso is determined, is being replaced. The old system was based on the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations (CHIP). The new system is based on the European Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances (CLP). CLP will replace CHIP in June 2015. As there is no direct correlation in classification of dangerous substances under CLP and CHIP, there is a need for a new alignment method. This will inevitably lead to changes in scope of Seveso.
As well as introducing a new alignment method, the European Commission is aiming to take the opportunity to modernise the Directive by making it consistent with other related environment Directives and including provision for greater public information provision through the internet. The key areas of change are:
- Alignment of the list of applicable dangerous substances with the CLP Directive;
- A mechanism for dealing with the unwarranted effects of CLP alignment;
- Strengthening the provision of information to and consultation with the public; and
- Tighter standards for inspections.
Negotiations started in the Council's Environment Working Group in January 2011 under the Hungarian Presidency. They are currently ongoing under the Danish Presidency. Negotiations are mainly focusing on the key areas for change identified above. The UK aims to minimise additional costs associated with the Seveso III Directive whilst maintaining protection of people and the environment from major accidents.
- Agreement on the Directive is most likely to be achieved during 2012.
- The proposed Directive currently requires that transposition into Member State law must take place by 31 May 2015.
However timings are provisional and subject to change as negotiations continue.