Controls ordered for sites with dangerous substances

Controls ordered for sites with dangerous substances


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The Fourth of October marks the one-year anniversary of Hungary's 'red mud' disaster, where an industrial accident released caustic alumina waste into areas surrounding the plant. In memory of the accident and its victims, the Environmental Committee in the European Parliament voted to update rules on accident prevention at dangerous substance sites across Europe.

Updates to the Seveso Directive, made in the 1970s after an industrial accident in Italy, would include better chemical classifications, clearer information for the public, and more frequent inspections.

Around 10,000 sites would be impacted by the updated directive but Parliament says they must all have accident prevention and response plans. Between 20-30 accidents are reported to the European Commission every year.

The vote was 52 in favour, 3 against. The update follows UN-agreed international classification of substances and calls for better risk evaluations and handling of controlled chemicals. Inspections would be designed to occur every three years, and once a year for high-risk sites.

The Environmental Committee also would like citizens to have online access to information regarding the chemical sites. "The aim is to provide essential information in an easily understandable form to interested citizens, while respecting national security concerns and the legitimate confidentiality of businesses," said rapporteur Janós Áder.

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