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12 Nov 2015
EU: More than half of EU officially bans genetically modified crops
More than half of the 28 countries in the European Union, including Germany and France, have decided to ban their farmers from growing genetically modified crops. Several regions, including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have also joined the movement.
Environmental groups long opposed to GM crops are delighted with the outcome. “There has never been a clearer signal that GM crops, and the companies that make them are not wanted in Europe,” says Mute Schimpf, of Friends of the Earth Europe. “The technology is not only risky, it’s redundant,” he says. “And people and the governments that represent them are rejecting them outright.”
12 Nov 2015
EU: Parliament rejects national GMO bans proposal
A draft EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was rejected by the European Parliament on Wednesday. Members are concerned that the law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They call on the Commission to table a new proposal.
8 Nov 2015
Ireland: The bar fights to keep fees quiet
The Bar Council has told a European watchdog that publishing Irish barristers' fees would "encourage a race to the bottom" by putting too much emphasis on price. The representative body said if its members were to publish the rates they charge for services, it would lead to "an unsustainably low level" of legal costs, which have been "dramatically" reduced since 2008. In some cases there have been "unilateral cuts of more than 50%" in barristers' fees.
The council, which represents about 2,300 barristers, made the claims in its formal response to a complaint under investigation by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe that Ireland's legal fees are "prohibitively expensive" and are restricting access to justice.
27 Oct 2015
Israel: Factory emissions levels fall again in 2014
The Environmental Protection Ministry of Israel unveiled the data contained in its 2014 Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) which includes a survey of 507 factories and their emissions levels. According to this survey, air pollution levels dropped as much as 53 percent in 2014 in comparison to those in 2012 – after falling as much as 40% in 2013. In addition, the Environmental Protection Ministry director-general Yisrael Danzinger mentioned the National Action Plan for the Haifa Bay Area which contains measures approved in August by the government to curb air pollution in this particularly problematic region.
5 Oct 2015
Lviv hosted the training for judges-trainers of the course “Human rights and environmental protection”
On 28-30 September 2015, International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” (EPL) jointly with the National School of Judges of Ukraine at financial support of USAID Fair Justice Project held a training for judges – trainers of the course “Human rights and environmental protection” on the basis of methodological materials developed by EPL.
28 Sep 2015
UK: Green activists worry about government plans to raise cost of legal challenges
Proposals to expose claimants in environmental cases to higher financial liabilities if they lose their cases could deter people from bringing actions, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The consultation has been launched to update the UK’s responsibilities under the Aarhus convention, which guarantees public participation in decision-making as well as access to information and justice in environmental matters.
15 Sep 2015
Spain: On the declaration of 5 projects of strategic interest to the Canary Islands
Ben Magec-Ecologists in Action claims that law 3/2015, entitling the Canary Islands Government to "streamline project deadlines they themselves decide", violates the right of citizens to a reasonable time frames for their participation in matters related to the environment as granted by the Aarhus Convention
9 Sep 2015
Austria: Fundamental right question to a small power plant
A small hydroelectric power plant is planned in Innervillgraten. Environmentalists invited the Ministry to stop the construction of power plants and are going to petition the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling, whether or not the exclusion of environmental organizations from administrative procedures violated a fundamental right under the Aarhus Convention.
7 Sep 2015
Ireland: Transparency switch still off
In a recent ruling the Supreme Court confirmed in the case of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) vs Commissioner for Environmental Information that NAMA was a public authority for the purposes of the Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations 2007/2011, which transpose the European Directive and base the definition of environmental information on the Aarhus Convention. Opinion piece by Gavin Sheridan on the ruling.
3 Sep 2015
Spain: Environmental NGOs denounce the government to the EU for not including them in legal aid
Spanish NGOs have announced that they will denounce Spain to EU as access to justice in environmental matters is duty bound since the ratification of the Aarhus Convention by Spain and the European Union which is violated by the Law on Fees and reform of the Law of contentious jurisdiction administrative.