The EU Commission has succeeded in its action against the UK over its failure to transpose the Mining Waste Directive (MWD) into UK law.
The MWD should have been transposed into UK law by 1 May 2008. The action was brought in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by the Commission, which asked the ECJ to declare that by failing to adopt laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the WMD, or by failing to communicate them to the Commission, the UK had failed to fufil its obligations under the WMD.
The ECJ agreed and you can consider the reported judgment in full by clicking here.
The Government has implied that such proceedings are relatively routine. It has pointed to the fact that none of the member states had transposed the WMD by the due date and the Commission initiated what are called ‘infraction proceedings’ against all members states as a matter of course. However, by 20 January 22 of the EU countries had transposed the legislation and only 5 (including the UK) remain to do so.
As we have already reported, the Environment Agency has only just begin a consultation process with the mineral industry over implementation of the MWD; and some industry insiders believe that this judgment may mean that the Government will want to rush through implementation and the publication of guidance as quickly as possible and without the due and proper degree of consultation. Time will tell in this respect.