Brussels takes UK to court over wastewater and emissions, launches infringement proceedings over energy efficiency


European Commission

The European Commission is referring the UK to the European Court of Justice over poor wastewater collection and treatment and over emissions at the Aberthaw coal-fired power station.

The UK is also one of 27 Member States against whom Brussels has launched infringement proceedings for failing to transpose the Energy Efficiency Directive into law.

The Commission stated the UK had failed to ensure that urban waste water is adequately treated in 17 areas, thereby falling foul of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

The Aberthaw coal plant, while operating on a permit, is emitting almost two and a half times the nitrogen oxides allowed under the Large Combustion Plant Directive. The EC said it “welcomes more recent indications from the UK authorities that investments will be made to upgrade the plant, but at present the plant continues to operate under a permit which allows it to emit high levels of the toxic gas NOx. The Commission is therefore referring this case to Court.”

On transposing the Energy Efficiency Directive, only Malta has managed to do so. The Commission has therefore started legal proceedings against every other Member State.

Under the Lisbon Treaty, if Member States fail to transpose EU legislation into national law within the required deadline (the deadline for the EED was last June) the Commission may ask the court to impose financial sanctions when referring the case to court.

So far, only Hungary is facing financial penalties under the EED. The Commission has suggested to the Court a fine of €15,444 per day until it has transposed the Directive.

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