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Brussels, 7 June 2007

Review confirms the need to reduce pollution from industrial installations

Emissions of certain industrial pollutants in the European Union are still increasing, according to a review published today by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency. The second European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER) review confirms last year's preliminary assessment (IP/06/1618). This second report marks the first comprehensive report of emissions data for industrial pollutants in 25 EU Member States and Norway. The review reveals that about two-thirds of the 50 air and water industrial pollutants have been decreasing. These include nitrogen pollutants released into water bodies (-14.5%), the various types of phosphorus (-12%), and the emissions of dioxins/furans (-22.5%) into the atmosphere. An upward trend can be observed in emissions of certain pollutants, such as carbon dioxide which increased by 5.7% between 2001 and 2004. In 2004, key tools to control carbon dioxide emissions such as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) were not yet in place.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “I am encouraged by the efforts made by Member States to report their emissions on time. This is important in that the EPER review is a valuable analysis of industrial pollution data and serves as an important policy-making tool in the field of pollution prevention and control. However, this report shows that Member States need to do more to combat industrial pollution."

Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA, added: “EPER allows us to analyse and present point source information on pollution across the EU and make this information available to the citizens of Europe. We see EPER as a stepping stone for the future European Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, an important information source for all within the Shared Environmental Information System for Europe.”

Reporting pollution activities

EPER is a register of the emissions produced by large and medium-sized industrial facilities. It covers 50 air and water pollutants. The data in the register comes from facilities in all EU Member States.

The aim of the second EPER Review is to evaluate the data in the second EPER report on the emissions of industrial installations throughout the European Union up to 2004. For the first time the 2004 report contains data on industrial installations in the ten Member States that joined the European Union in 2004 and thus provides a complete picture of emissions throughout the European Union.

The EPER website allows European citizens to make their own analysis of pollution activities in a specific country or in the EU as a whole. EPER also provides background information on the pollutants mentioned in the report and their impact on human health and the environment.

Better data collection

The increasing use of electronic tools has substantially facilitated the reporting of data by national authorities to the Commission and the EEA and has contributed to the comprehensiveness of the data collection process.

The data included in EPER can be accessed via a website hosted by the EEA. This latest review was visited 70,000 within a month of being published on the website. Only 40% of visitors who responded to the on-line questionnaire were experts while one third said to be interested citizens.

Next steps

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register[1] (European PRTR) is due to replace EPER and will be published in 2009 based on 2007 data. The PRTR will cover more than 91 substances from industrial installations in 65 different fields of economic activity in addition to releases from diffuse sources such as road traffic, domestic heating and agriculture.

The European Pollutant Emission Register:

[1] Regulation (EC) No 166/2006

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