European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register

In this context mention should also be made of Regulation (EC) No 166/2006 concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register.94 The Regulation establishes an integrated pollutant release and transfer register at EU level (‘the European PRTR’) in the form of a publicly accessible electronic database and lays down rules for its functioning, in order to implement the UNECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers.95 It also aims to facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making and contribute to the prevention and reduction of pollution of the environment. (Art 1.)

The register shall include information on releases of pollutants, off-site transfers of waste, and pollutants in waste water, as specified in the regulation. It shall also include information on releases of pollutants from diffuse sources, where available. The Regulation obliges operators which meet certain criteria to report annually on release and transfers of pollutants to their respective competent national authority.

Member States shall provide all the data received to the Commission which, assisted by the European Environment Agency, shall incorporate the information into the European PRTR. The information can be searched using criteria such as type of pollutant, geographical location, and source facility.

The Commission has described the Member States’ implementation of the Regulation as ‘a reasonable success story’.96

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