Denmark signals stricter chemicals controls

Strategy to be released by end of the year, likely to include new restrictions, taxes

Denmark needs to introduce stricter controls on chemical substances and products, prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said in a speech made last week. In an annual briefing at the opening of the parliamentary session, the prime minister highlighted chemicals and waste as the key priorities for new environmental legislation to be proposed in the coming year.

Details of the chemicals proposal have yet to be released, but it is expected to seek to impose bans or restrictions on the use of certain chemicals, based on a hot-list of "unwanted" substances issued earlier this year by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (ENDS Daily 14 May). It will also increase taxation on chemical products, starting with soaps and cosmetics, an EPA spokesperson told ENDS Daily.

The new legislation is expected by the Danish industry confederation to be "ambitious," according to a spokesperson. Among EU countries, Denmark has been one of the voices in favour of a radical overhaul of existing chemicals assessment policies. A joint paper from Denmark, Austria, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands, presented at an informal environment minister's meeting in April, called for chemicals risk assessment to move away from the current case-by-case scenario. Instead, the group concluded, chemicals should be tackled in groups according to their characteristics, with persistent and bioaccumulative substances receiving priority attention (ENDS Daily 27 April).

The chemicals strategy is expected to be published before Christmas. The timing will depend on how long it takes parliament to debate the government's latest waste management plan, which is also a priority action area, according to the prime minister (ENDS Daily 2 October).

Contaminated land clean-up is on the agenda for the parliamentary session, according to a written briefing from the environment ministry. A new initiative expected this autumn may aim to give responsibility for clean-ups to site owners, regardless of whether the contamination occurred before or after the purchase date.

Denmark will also try this legislative session to implement the UN/ECE convention on public participation in environmental decision making and access to environmental information, as agreed at the Århus conference of European environmental ministers held earlier this year (ENDS Daily 25 June). In the area of nature protection, the government will introduce a measure to improve coastal protection by limiting development along 300km of its coastline.

Follow Up:
Danish environment ministry, tel: +45 33 92 74 92.

Please sign in to access this article. To subscribe, view our subscription options, or take out a free trial.

Please enter your details

Forgotten password?

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
or call 020 8267 8120

Not a subscriber?

Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.