Better information about major accident risks
New rules that entered into force on 13th August 2012 will see EU citizens better informed about major threats posed by industrial plants in their immediate vicinity. The rules are part of an update of the Seveso Directive, a key instrument in industrial risk management.
The Directive obliges Member States to draw up emergency plans for areas surrounding industrial installations where very large quantities of dangerous substances are to be found.
In addition to the technical updates to take account of changes in EU chemicals classification, the main improvements are:
- Better access for citizens to information about risks resulting from activities of nearby industrial installations, and about how to behave in the event of an accident; this will also increase confidence in the functioning of these companies
- More effective rules on participation, by the public concerned, in land-use planning projects related to Seveso plants
- Access to justice for citizens who have not been granted appropriate access to information or participation
- Stricter standards for inspections of establishments to ensure more effective enforcement of safety rules
- From now on, public information about risks must be made available electronically.
Member States will have to apply these rules as from 1st June 2015, which is also the date when the new chemicals classification legislation becomes fully applicable in Europe.