Country
European Union
Sources
InforMEA
Tagging
Water Pollution
Abstract
This was an application by the European Commission under Article 226 EC. It sought a declaration that, by failing to take appropriate steps to identify waters affected by pollution, and consequent failure to designate the corresponding vulnerable zones, in accordance with Art. 3 of and Annex 1 to Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources, the French Republic has failed to fulfill its obligations under that Directive. Spain was given leave to intervene in support of the form of order sought by France. In its application the Commission made several complains against France and in particular that by failing to identify the Seine bay as waters which contain or could contain a concentration of nitrates greater than 50 mg/L, France failed to apply correctly Art. 3 (1) and Annex 1 to the Directive. France contended in Defense that the circular of 5th November 1992 had been amended by a circular of 24th July 2000 in order to take account of the significant –though not predominant- nature of pollution by nitrates of agricultural origin. It also pointed out that the Department of Oise had been designated as a vulnerable zone. The Commission withdrew the complaints of pollution by nitrates of agricultural origin in the waters of the Oise. On the remaining issues the Court held that the objective of the Directives was: To protect human health and living resources; to protect aquatic ecosystems and to safeguard other legitimate uses of water; to reduce water pollution caused or induced by nitrates; and to prevent such pollution. The Court was of the view that, by failing to take appropriate steps to identify waters affected by pollution and to designate vulnerable zones, the French Republic had failed to fulfill its obligations under Article 3 of Annex 1 to Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12th December 1991. France was ordered to pay the costs and the Kingdom of Spain to bear its own costs.