European Union
Biodiversity, Air pollution, Wetlands, Access to Justice, Taxation, Property, Permits
This reference for a preliminary ruling was made in proceedings brought by several environmental organizations in the Netherlands who sought the annulment of a decision of the Dutch Board for the Authorization of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (‘the CTB’). The CTB refused to disclose certain studies and reports concerning residues and effectiveness of the substance propamocarb in or on lettuce. The Court decided that the information at issue was ‘environmental information’ in the sense of Article 2 of Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information. Such information must be made available to the public upon request. Another aspect of the case has broader implications for EU law. The moment of decision of the authority is the moment whereupon the application of a Directive crystallizes, so ruled the Court. The request for access to environmental information in the case was made before the transition period of the previous Directive (90/313) came to an end but the decision by the authorities was taken after the transition period of Directive 2003/4 had expired. The Court found that in that case the latter directive applied which was in effect during the time of decision.