EU environmental policies and legislation protect natural habitats, keep air and water clean, ensure proper waste disposal, improve knowledge about toxic chemicals and help businesses move toward a sustainable economy.

The following is a list of EU Environment and Climate Change related legislation documents and weblinks that are currently available on Lean Business Ireland.

Transport targets – White paper: European transport policy for 2010 [archived]
White Paper - European transport policy for 2010: time to decide

This document aims to strike a balance between economic development and the quality and safety demands made by society in order to develop a modern, sustainable transport system for 2010.

United Nations (UN) climate change negotiations — an overview
Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as it applies to EU participation in UN climate change negotiations

Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) defines the objectives and principles of European Union (EU) environment policy and underpins the EU’s participation in UN climate negotiations. In particular:

• the fourth indent of Article 191(1) of the TFEU specifically mentions that one of the key aims of EU environment policy is to promote measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems, in particular combating climate change; and
• the fourth paragraph of Article 191 refers to cooperation in this field with other countries and international organisations, such as the UN.

• The UN climate negotiations aim to secure international agreement on effective measures to tackle global warming. The first, in 1992, was a commitment to keep the increase in global warming to below 2oC compared to pre-industrial times.
• The adoption of a new global climate agreement in 2015 to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon global economy marks the culmination of years of efforts by the international community to bring about a universal, multilateral agreement on climate change.

Urban wastewater treatment
Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment

Aimed at protecting the aquatic environment from the adverse effects (such as eutrophication*) of urban wastewater, it sets out EU-wide rules for collection, treatment and wastewater discharge. The law also covers wastewater generated by industries such as the agro-food industries (like food-processing and brewing).

Using sewage sludge in farming
Council Directive 86/278/EEC of 12 June 1986 on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture

It sets rules on how farmers can use sewage sludge as a fertiliser, to prevent it harming the environment and human health, by compromising the quality of the soil or surface and ground water.

To this end, it sets limits on the concentrations allowed in soil of 7 heavy metals that may be toxic to plants and humans:
cadmium, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, mercury, chromium

It bans the use of sewage sludge that leaves concentrations over these limits.

Vulnerable marine ecosystems: protection from bottom fishing on the high seas
Council Regulation (EC) No 734/2008 of 15 July 2008 on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears

It sets out the rules for fishing vessels, registered in European Union (EU) countries, using bottom fishing gears* on the high seas outside areas regulated by regional fisheries management organisations or where such organisations have not adopted measures for these fisheries.

Water suitable for fish-breeding [Archived]
Directive 2006/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the quality of fresh waters needing protection or improvement in order to support fish life

Directive 2006/44/EC lays down quality criteria applying to water-courses and lakes. Compliance with these criteria is essential in order to maintain or improve water quality and to safeguard fresh water fish species

Whaling [Archived]
Communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on Community action in relation to whaling

The Commission proposes that the European Union and its Member States adopt a coordinated approach at international level to guarantee effective protection of whales, mainly by opposing commercial whaling.