LORDS

Persistent organic pollutants

On 6 June 2018, the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee considered a Proposal to recast an existing Regulation on persistent organic pollutants.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are substances that are resistant to biodegradation, and so remain in the environment for a long period of time, and can have a significant negative effect on human health and the environment.
The EU POPs Regulation, which came into force in 2004, aims to reduce the production and use of these substances. Since then, there have been a number of changes in EU procedures and structures, and an assessment of the effectiveness of environmental reporting, which this proposed recast would reflect.
In their Explanatory Memorandum, the Government raised concerns that the Proposal could allow the Commission to make decisions about the future use of POPs without adequate input from Member States (through the use of delegated acts). The Committee wrote to the Minister to ask what discussions she has had with the Commission to resolve this.

Update: on 4 July 2018, the Sub-Committee considered the response from the Minister. They noted that some of the Government’s concerns have now been addressed, but wrote back to ask to be kept up-to-date as negotiations move forward. The Sub-Committee also asked for an update on negotiations to enable the UK to continue to participate in the European Chemicals Agency post-Brexit.

Update: on 5 September 2018, Members considered the Minister's latest reply, which provided an update on the negotiations at the EU on the draft Proposal. The Committee noted the progress that had been made, and asked for further updates in due course.

Update: on 21 November 2018, the Committee considered the Minister's latest letter. As little had changed since the last letter, Members simply wrote back asking to be kept updated as negotiations progress.

Update: on 22 May, the Committee reviewed the Minister's reply. Compromises have now been reached between Member States, and the UK Government is content that the revised text strikes the right balance between protecting human health and the environment and not being overly restrictive on business. They are also content with the compromise reached on allowing Member States to influence future changes to the regulations. A vote on the Proposal is expected shortly, and the UK wishes to signal its support, so Members decided to release the dossier from scrutiny.

Letters to Ministers

Letters from the Minister 

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