Slow summer for EU's EMAS scheme

Number of firms registered under environmental management standard up just 0.1% since June

The number of industrial companies registered to the EU's environmental management standard (EMAS) remained virtually unchanged during July and August. According to data up to 1 September released by the EMAS helpdesk in Brussels, just 39 new registrations were recorded over the two summer months, marking a 0.1% increase since our last bi-monthly survey (ENDS Daily 13 July). The number of registrations was nevertheless up 19% on one year ago (see table below). As usual, the EMAS leaders Germany and Austria led with the largest number of new registrations over the last two months. Most other countries saw few or no additions.
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Numbers of EMAS-registered sites
             1/9/99       1/9/00
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Germany       1785          2109
Austria        185           232
Sweden         146           162
Denmark        108           140
UK              71            77
Spain           37            64
Norway          56            58
France          32            35
Italy           18            32
Finland         27            30
Netherlands     22            26
Belgium          9             9
Ireland          6             7
Luxembourg       1             1
Greece           1             1
Portugal         -             1
TOTAL         2504          2984
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Source: EMAS Helpdesk
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Meanwhile, proposed revisions to the EU regulation underpinning the EMAS scheme should be finalised this autumn, probably in conciliation negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The parliament held its second reading on the proposal in July, adopting 27 amendments but backing down from earlier moves to require small and medium-sized (SME) firms registering under EMAS to use "best available technologies" (ENDS Daily 6 July). Over the summer, the European Commission delivered its opinion on the parliament's amendments (see link below). The key remaining flashpoint is likely to be how frequently SMEs participating in EMAS will be required to seek independent validation of their annual environmental statements. The parliament proposed softening this from annually to once every three years to make it easier for small firms to join the scheme. But the Commission has refused to accept the change, arguing that annual validation is an important part of EMAS and that small companies do not necessarily pollute less than larger ones. Correction 6/11/00 The increase in EMAS registrations over the two months to 1 September was 1% (39 on 2,945) and not 0.1% as we reported.Follow Up:
European Commission EMAS helpdesk, tel: +32 2 502 0472. See also full text of Commission opinion, COM(2000)512 final.

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