MEPs reject BAT requirement for Emas

European Parliament completes its scrutiny for Emas revision, benzene in air, industry inspections

The European Parliament today backed down from a battle with EU governments by narrowly rejecting a proposal from its environment committee to require companies adopting the EU environmental management system to use "best available technology" (BAT) in their processes.

Small businesses and service providers are likely to breathe a sigh of relief, since exactly how BAT could be adapted to them within the Emas framework was unclear and could have complicated their attempts to register under the scheme. The proposal to introduce the requirement was only just lost - a majority of MEPs in the chamber backed it, but there were not enough of them to reach the required absolute majority.

In a second vote on Emas, the parliament rejected a proposal that the "physical assets" of the EU's institutions, including the European Commission and the parliament itself, be forced to certify to Emas. A conciliation procedure will now iron out the relative minor differences between parliament and the Council of Ministers.

Voting on other dossiers, the parliament also backed away from a conciliation showdown with ministers over an already agreed directive to limit benzene in ambient air by rejecting a last minute symbolic change to its wording. However, it stood firm on a demand to make minimum standards for environmental inspections of industrial installations mandatory rather than voluntary by insisting that ministers upgrade a planned non-binding recommendation to a fully-fledged directive.

The parliament was due to vote this afternoon on a European Commission proposal to introduce a permanent ban on the use of six phthalate softeners in PVC toys intended to be sucked by under-threes. This ballot was delayed until late this evening due to an unusually heavy workload. We will report on the outcome in tomorrow's edition of ENDS Daily.

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111; the amendments passed by the parliament today, 6 July, will soon be posted here.

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