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European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR)

The European Union (EU) is setting up a European pollutant release and transfer register (PRTR). This electronic database is available to the public and should contribute towards reducing pollution.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 January 2006 concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register and amending Council Directives 91/689/EEC and 96/61/EC [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

This Regulation sets up a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) in the form of a publicly accessible electronic database. This database will meet the requirements of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, signed by the Community in May 2003.

This register is available to the public free of charge on the internet. The information it contains can be searched using various search criteria (type of pollutant, geographical location, affected environment, source facility, etc.)

Content of the PRTR

The register contains information on releases of pollutants to air, water and land, as well as off-site transfers of pollutants present in waste-water and waste. The register covers 91 pollutants listed in Annex II, including greenhouse gases, other gases, heavy metals, pesticides, chlorinated organic substances and other inorganic substances.

Releases are reported when the level of the emissions exceeds a certain threshold and results in one of the 65 activities listed in Annex I. The majority of these activities are also regulated under the Directive on industrial emissions and comprises, in particular, the establishments covered by the following sectors: energy production, mineral industry, chemical industry, waste and wastewater management, and paper and wood production and processing.

The register will also cover releases of pollutants from diffuse sources (such as transport) *.

How the PRTR works

Information gathered at national level by Member States and reported to the Commission is fed into the database on a regular basis. First of all, this information is submitted annually to the competent national authority by the operators of the establishments concerned.

Member States must also gather information on releases from diffuse sources using internationally approved methods.

Member States must then report the information they have collected to the Commission by the stipulated deadline (within 18 months of the end of 2007 for data relating to 2007, and subsequently within 15 months of the end of each reporting year). Member States are permitted to keep certain information confidential; if they do, they must notify the Commission of the type of the information that is being withheld and the grounds for withholding it.

The Commission, with the cooperation of the European Environment Agency, will provide the public with access to the information contained in the database by ensuring it is available on the internet by the stipulated deadline (within 21 months of the end of 2007 for data relating to 2007, and subsequently within 16 months of the end of each reporting year).

Public participation

The Regulation provides the public with the opportunity to be involved in further developing the register and preparing amendments.

Background

In May 2003 the European Community signed the UN-ECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (the PRTR Protocol).

The European register covers more substances than the UN-ECE Protocol, to take account of existing EU legislation on water and persistent organic pollutants. Furthermore, the deadlines for reporting information set in the Regulation are shorter than those laid down in the Protocol.

Key terms
  • Diffuse sources: the many smaller or scattered sources from which pollutants may be released to land, air or water, whose combined impact on those media may be significant and for which it is impractical to collect reports from each individual source.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 166/2006

24.2.2006

-

OJ L 33 of 4.2.2006

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 596/2009

7.8.2009

-

OJ L 188 of 18.7.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of reference value only.

RELATED ACTS

Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (EN ) (FR )

Council Decision 2006/61/EC of 2 December 2005 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the UN-ECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers [Official Journal L 32 of 4.2.2006].
The Protocol was signed in Kiev by the European Community and its Member States (with the exception of Malta and Slovakia) on 21 May 2003. It is the first legally binding multilateral agreement on pollutant release and transfer registers to extend beyond the EU's borders. The Protocol aims to establish, for each Member State, a coherent, integrated and publicly accessible pollutant release and transfer register at national level.

Last updated: 03.10.2011
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