Answer given by Mr Dimas on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is not specifically aware of the situation concerning the disposal site in Caserta. However, as regards the situation of waste disposal sites in Italy, it should be noted that an infringement procedure against Italy was put before the Court of Justice (C‑135/05, concerning the situation of illegal landfills) and that on 26 April 2007, the Court judged that ‘the Italian Republic has failed to fulfil its obligations under Articles 4, 8 and 9 of Directive 75/442 (Framework Directive on Waste)(1), under Article 2(1) of Council Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste(2), and under Article 14(a) to (c) of Council Directive 1999/31/EC(3) on the landfill of waste’.
Directive 2001/42/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment(4) is not applicable to individual projects like the one referred to by the Honourable Member.
Instead, Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment(5), as amended by Directives 97/11/EC(6) and 2003/35/EC(7), provides that Member States must ensure that projects likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue, inter alia, of their nature, size or location are made subject to an assessment of their environmental effects before development consent is given.
Different project types are, therefore, defined in Annexes I and II to the directive. For Annex I projects, an environment impact assessment (EIA) is mandatory, whereas for Annex II projects Member States have to determine (in a procedure called ‘screening’) whether they are likely to have significant effects on the environment. If so, an EIA must be carried out.
The project referred to in the question of the Honourable Member is most likely to fall within Annex II (11)(b) ‘ Installations for the disposal of waste (projects not included in Annex I)’. For Annex II projects, Member States have to determine, either through a case by case examination or according to thresholds or criteria, whether the project should be subject to an assessment because of its likely significant effects on the environment taking into account the relevant selection criteria set out in Annex III of the directive. If Member State authorities determine that the project is likely to have significant effects on the environment, an environmental impact assessment has to be carried out.
Based on the information provided by the Honourable Member, it is not clear whether development consent for this project has yet been granted and whether or not the EIA procedure has started. If development consent were to be granted without the procedures of the EIA Directive being respected, the Commission would be able to take up any breach of Community law with the Member State. The Commission will, therefore, investigate whether such consent has been granted.