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Major accidents involving dangerous chemicals - EUR-Lex

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Major accidents involving dangerous chemicals - EUR-Lex

Europeans will be better informed about major threats from industrial plants in their neighbourhood under new rules which came into force on 13 August 2012.

ACT

Directive 2012/18/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances, amending and subsequently repealing Council Directive 96/82/EC.

SUMMARY

What's the existing law?

EU legislation to control major accident hazards involving dangerous substances, especially chemicals.

What's the issue?

This legislation has been changed to give the public stronger rights. It provides them with better access to information about the risks which might occur from nearby industrial installations and how to react in the event of an accident.

That information, which explains how alerts will be sounded and how the public should act, must be available online.

What has changed?

The law now covers some 10,000 industrial sites across the EU where chemicals or petrochemicals are used or stored, or where metal refining takes place.

Every EU country must ensure measures are in place to deal with accidents in areas around industrial installations housing large quantities of dangerous products:

Companies handling these substances above certain thresholds must:

  • regularly inform the people who could be affected by an accident
  • provide safety reports
  • establish a safety management system
  • put in place an internal emergency plan.

The new law also:

  • tightens the procedures for public consultation on projects, plans and programmes involving plants covered by the legislation.
  • ensures, through changes to land-use planning laws,that new plants are sited a safe distance away from existing ones.
  • allows people to go to court if they consider they have not been properly informed or involved.
  • introduces stricter inspection standards for the various installations, to ensure the safety rules are being effectively implemented.

EU countries must apply the new rules from 1 June 2015.

Why the update?

The latest legislation takes account of certain technical European and international changes in the way chemicals are classified.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2012/18/EU

13.08.2012

31.05.2015Application from 01.06.2015

OJ L 197 of 24.7.2012

15.01.2014

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