Major polluters in the UK will soon have nowhere to hide as new EU rules are set to open the records for public inspection at the press of a button.
A new internet information source published by the European Commission will allow local residents to get details of chemical emissions from industries throughout the area.
From 23 February the EPER (European polluting emission register) website will give details of 50 different air and water pollutants from 56 types of industry (see below for full list).
Euro-MP Chris Davies has welcomed it as a valuable tool to promote a better environment. The North West MEP, who is Liberal Democrat spokesman on the environment in the European Parliament, said that great strides had been to cut pollution levels over the years.
He said: "Ambitious EU environment laws have secured major improvements, but voluntary action is always best. With this information local residents can 'name and shame' those companies still with poor standards."
"Environmentally conscious organisations should be praised, and those responsible for high levels of chemical emissions made to face up to their responsibilities."
The register will enable comparisons to be made between the performance of industry across the UK with that of companies elsewhere in Europe. By 2008 it will have been broadened to include information also from thousands of smaller industrial plants.
Eper website - http://www.eper.cec.eu.int/eper/default.asp - the website will be available to the public on 23 February 2004.
INDUSTRY SECTORS covered by Eper are as follows:
ENERGY INDUSTRY, including thermal power stations, oil and gas refineries, coke ovens, and coal gasification and liquefaction plants.
METALS INDUSTRY, including ore roasting and sintering, and ferrous and non-ferrous metals production, plus surface treatment of metals and plastics.
MINERAL INDUSTRY, including cement, lime, glass and ceramic products, and manufacturing of plaster, asphalt, concrete, bricks, tiles and asbestos.
CHEMICALS INDUSTRY, including basic organic chemicals, inorganic chemicals or fertilisers, biocides, pesticides, explosives and pharmaceutical products.
WASTE INDUSTRY, including both municipal and hazardous waste disposal or recovery, including landfills, incinerators and other processing.
OTHER INDUSTRIES, including pulp and paper, fibres and textiles pre-treatment and manufacture, tanning of hides, skins and leather products, slaughterhouses, milk production, food and beverages manufacture, poultry and pig rearing, surface treatment using solvents including printing, and production of carbon and graphite.
POLLUTANTS covered by Eper are as follows:
The six KYOTO GREENHOUSE GASES: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, HFCs, PFCs and sulphur hexafluoride, all to air.
Seven other substances and groups in a GENERAL category: carbon monoxide, ammonia, non-methane VOCs, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide to air, and total nitrogen and total phosphorus to water.
Eight groups of METALS: arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, lead and zinc, including compounds, to both air and water.
Fifteen substances and groups of CHLORINATED ORGANIC SUBSTANCES: dichloroethane, dichloromethane, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorocyclohexane both to air and water; chloro-alkanes, hexachlorobutadiene and halogenated organics to water; dioxins and furans, pentachlorophenol, tetrachloroethylene, tetrachloromethane,trichlorobenzenes, trichloroethane, trichloroethylene and trichloromethane to air.
Seven substances and groups of OTHER ORGANIC COMPOUNDS: benzene to air; benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, brominated diphenylether, organotins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and phenols to water; total organic carbon to both.
And finally, another seven substances classed as OTHER COMPOUNDS: chlorides, cyanides and fluorides to water; chlorine and inorganic compounds, fluorine and inorganic compounds, HCN and PM10 fine particles to air.
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