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28.12.

2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 374 E/113

In the road sector, the Commission recently published (1) a follow-up communication to its road safety
communication of 1997 detailing progress made in the action programme for road safety 1997-2001 and
setting priorities for future action.

The Commission has also just made another fundamental step forwards towards the enhancement of
maritime safety in the Community waters through the adoption on 21 March 2000 of a communication
on the safety of the seaborne oil-trade (2) in which it proposes to strengthen the existing legislation on port
state controls and classification societies, but also to phase out oil tankers with a single hull in Community
waters.

In the air transport, Commission is also acting in particular as regards safety through the creation of a
European aviation safety authority, which would ensure through the integration of national systems a high
and harmonised level of security.

(1) COM(2000) 125 final.
(2) COM(2000) 142.

(2000/C 374 E/133) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0587/00
by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission

(29 February 2000)

Subject: European sustainable transport policy

What is the Commission’s view of the inherent tension between the desire to see the economic benefits of
T-TEN arrive speedily and concern that enviornmental issues should be properly addressed?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(13 April 2000)

Article 6 (ex Article 3c) of the EC Treaty requires that environmental considerations be integrated into all
aspects of Community policies in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development. Integration
of environmental considerations is also called for under Article 2 of the Community guidelines for the
development of the Trans European transport network (TEN-T) adopted by the Parliament and Council by
co-decision in 1996 (1). This sets out that the network should be developed to ensure the sustainable
mobility of goods and people to help achieve the Community’s objectives particularly in regard to the
environment and competition, and contribute to strengthening economic and social cohesion. Article 2
further sets out that development of the network should take full account of the comparative advantages
of all modes of transport and allow the optimal use of infrastructure capacities.

The guidelines set 2010 as the time horizon to complete the TEN-T. The Commission is working with
Member States and all concerned to ensure that this target is met and that in so doing long term
sustainable benefits are achieved for the Community’s citizens and businesses. Where applicable, projects
of common interest for development of the TEN-T are subject to environmental impact assessment under
Community legislation. The Commission has also adopted a proposal for a directive on strategic
assessment of the environmental impacts of certain plans and programmes (2). The Council reached
unanimous political agreement at first reading on this proposal in December 1999. The Commission
considers that the use of strategic environmental assessment from the earliest stages of national planning
processes involving the consideration of different policy and infrastructure development options could
significantly enhance the integration of transport and environmental considerations and help reduce the
need for environmental mitigation measures at project level.
C 374 E/114 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.2000

The Commission is currently considering how best to take forward these issues in its report on the
revision of the TEN-T guidelines that will be submitted to the Council and Parliament this summer.

(1) OJ L 228, 9.9.1996.
(2) OJ C 83, 25.3.1999.

(2000/C 374 E/134) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0591/00
by Reinhold Messner (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(29 February 2000)

Subject: Quarry in val Coalba

An aggregates quarry located in the beautiful val Coalba (municipality of Villa Agnedo), which is to form
part of the future Brenta riverside park, has applied for a renewal of its authorisation to quarry for gravel.
The proposed extension is to run for at least thirteen years and involve the removal of an overall total of
950 000 cubic metres of material. When the Province of Trento’s urban development plan was revised in
1987, environmental restraints were placed on the site, which is of unquestionable natural beauty.

The quarrying work would have serious repercussions, causing environmental damage in an area known
for its geological features, flora and fauna, possibly disturbing the hydrogeological balance and under-
mining the safety of the road network, and transfiguring a site that is to become one of the main features
of the future Brenta riverside park. The mouth of the valley, where the aggregates are processed, forms
part of a bicycle trail and of plans for a riverside park which the Provincial Council is including, together
with those for the valle del Chiese, in the economic programming document covering local projects to
receive European Union funding over the next five years.

Would the Commission not agree that, in view of the possible geological risks involved, an environmental
impact assessment should be carried out?

Would it not agree that there is a contradiction in terms between promoting tourism in the val Coalba and
accepting the presence of a quarry that seriously detracts from the natural beauty of the site?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(31 March 2000)

The Commission does not have competence to carry out environmental impact assessment (EIA)
procedures with reference to the projects covered by the Community legislation on EIA. According to
Council Directives 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985, on the assessment of the effects of certain public and
private projects on the environment (1) and 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997 (2) which has modified Directive
85/337/EEC, it is Member States which are competent to carry out EIA procedures with reference to the
projects located in their territory.

As regards the nature conservation aspect, the site mentioned by the Honourable Member is not
considered among the protected areas concerned by Council Directives 79/409/EEC of 7 April 1979 on
the conservation of wild birds (3), or 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats
and of wild fauna and flora (4).

The Commission, in the light of the powers conferred on it by the EC Treaty, has the task of ensuring the
correct application of Community law. As the guardian of the EC Treaty, it does not hesitate to take all
necessary measures, including infringement proceedings under Article 226 (ex Article 169) of the
EC Treaty, in order to ensure the observance of Community law.