Category Archives: Civil protection

Today’s societies are more and more vulnerable to all kinds of risks, be they natural or technological, which can have serious environmental consequences. To help address these risks and be prepared to manage the crisis situations to which they can lead, the European Union has set up a mechanism for cooperation on assistance interventions and established programmes for the funding of civil protection measures.

Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union

Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 23 February 2009 – A Community approach on the prevention of natural and man made disasters [COM(2009) 82 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Community territory is affected by natural or man-made disasters, the number and impact of which is rising. This increasing vulnerability is caused in particular by the effects of climate change and by urban and industrial development.

The strategy is part of a set of instruments with both an external and an internal dimension. It does not cover emergencies related to conflicts or acts of terrorism.

The measures taken regarding disaster prevention are mainly at national level. Disaster prevention should nevertheless be approached at European level, since hazards often have cross-border impact and effects on the growth and competitiveness of the European Union (EU).

A Community approach should enhance the effectiveness of prevention action by adding to national actions in certain areas. This strategy is therefore based on three main themes:

  • Developing existing knowledge, so as to improve the effectiveness of prevention policies.

The Commission should facilitate the production of information and its comparability with regard to disaster factors. It will carry out an inventory of information sources and best practices, and dissemination of best practices in risk management procedures (land use planning, emergency plans, etc.). Risk areas should be mapped according to guidelines prepared at European level.

The 7th Research and Development Framework Programme (RDFP) supports the coordination of research activities and the dissemination of information on disaster risks.

  • Extending cooperation of actors involved in disaster management.

Prevention, preparedness, response and recovery activities should be based on coordinated mechanisms involving public and private actors. The creation of a network of those responsible at national level and specialists should serve to improve the coordination of Community, national and regional measures.

Links between detection and early warning systems should be developed, including in cooperation with Mediterranean third countries. The Commission must further develop the evaluation of the Civil Protection Mechanismand training will be carried out within the framework of the civil protection programme. Citizens should be better informed about prevention measures, as well as the existence of the emergency number 112 (pdf ).

  • Targeting legislative and financial instruments for prevention action.

Within the framework of the 2007-2013 budget, the Commission should identify the Community instruments which could finance prevention measures (for example in the areas of rural development, civil protection, environmental protection, research and information and communication technologies). If necessary, the Commission shall make recommendations for the integration of these measures in national operational programmes.

When certain legislative provisions are amended, the constraints related to disaster risk management should be better addressed. The following are particularly concerned: the SEA Directiveon the environmental impact of public and private projects, the SEVESO Directive on technological risks and the provisions concerning technical standards of anti-seismic construction. European legislation also coversflood management and oil spills.

International cooperation

This strategy should be implemented in cooperation with Candidate countries or potential Candidates for accession, with Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partner countries and as part of the programme for prevention, preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters (PPRD) within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

The Commission will coordinate these actions with the European strategy for the reduction of risks in developing countries. This is to be in line with the international Hyogo Framework for Action 2005 – 2015 for disaster prevention.

Response to natural or man-made disasters

Response to natural or man-made disasters

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Response to natural or man-made disasters

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Response to natural or man-made disasters

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 5 March 2008 on “Reinforcing the Union’s Disaster Response Capacity” [COM(2008) 130 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission has put forward proposals which aim to reinforce the European Union’s

disaster response capacity. The notion of ‘disaster’ is used in a broad sense to cover natural or man-made disasters and conflict-related emergencies taking place within the European Union (EU) and also outside its borders.

In order to react effectively to these disasters, a comprehensive approach including risk assessment, forecast, prevention, preparedness and rehabilitation is required. This also requires the mobilisation of all the policies, instruments and services available to the Community and Member States.

Planning, coordination and rapid response

The Commission stresses the need to reinforce the links between civil protection and the environmental policies included in environmental legislation in order to take full advantage of the preventive measures included in the latter. Importance is also placed on developing synergies with international, national and local stakeholders to achieve better coordination.

In particular, the Commission put forward the suggestion to streamline coordination between itself, the Council and Member States for large scale disasters involving both Community instruments and Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) instruments. The Commission referred to the opportunity to establish joint planning and operational teams as well as to develop standard operational procedures adapted to different types of disasters and geographical areas.

The Commission reiterated that it manages many Rapid Alert Systems (RAS) in case of specific sectoral disasters. It also decides on Community humanitarian assistance and coordinates the Community Civil Protection Mechanism. Furthermore, the Commission has at its disposal a number of instruments it can use to finance disaster prevention measures or to alleviate the financial costs incurred by public authorities when undertaking emergency operations. These instruments include the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), funds allocated for Rural Development, the Civil Protection Financial Instrument (CPFI) and the Instrument for Stability.

The Commission also has at its disposal a number of coordination tools for managing crisis situations more effectively, such as ARGUS, an internal mechanism developed in June 2006 to respond to multidimensional crises, and the RELEX Crisis Platform, established after the 2004 Tsunami, which assists political coordination between the Commission and Member States during external crisis situations.

Improving humanitarian aid

The Commission aims to improve the European Union’s humanitarian aid capacities. In particular this will be achieved by identifying existing gaps in terms of logistics, further strengthening the rapid assessment and response capacity in the field and improving liaison between the different actors involved.

Noting that the majority of disasters taking place in third countries do not trigger an international response and that when an international response is initiated, it often takes days for external assistance to reach the site, the Commission believes it is important to have an active expert presence in the field and to ensure that local authorities have the capacity to react immediately.

Reinforcing civil protection

In the field of civil protection, the Commission proposes to build up the Monitoring and Information Centre so that it can take on the role of the European Union’s operational centre for intervention. It also aims to improve the European Union’s response capacity, whilst keeping in reserve the means to rapidly intervene in the event of a disaster.

The Commission intends to undertake studies and finance diverse projects with the aim of developing a knowledge base on the EU’s capacity to intervene quickly in the event of major disasters in a Member State or third country. This will include studies on scenarios which aim to identify potential shortcomings and trial runs of different methods which would enable rapid intervention capacities to be kept in reserve. On this basis the Commission will put forward appropriate proposals.

The Commission suggests undertaking other measures in parallel, such as the creation of a European Disaster Response Training Network, the development of early warning systems and promoting the use of the single European emergency number (“112”).

The Communication includes an Annex on the subject of forest fires to clearly demonstrate how further prevention, preparedness, response and recovery measures could be combined to deal with such a disaster in a more effective manner.

Context

The increase in major disasters in recent years (the 2004 tsunami in Asia, the war in Lebanon in 2006, forest fires and floods in Europe in 2007) and the risk of increasingly frequent disasters due to climate change makes modernisation and adaptation of the European Union’s means of response essential.

In December 2007 the European Parliament and European Council invited the Council and Commission to make the best use of the Community Civil Protection Mechanism and the Civil Protection Financial Instrument to help prepare for major emergencies. Furthermore, in December 2007 the European Parliament and the European Council signed the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, a comprehensive framework for improved delivery of humanitarian aid at the European Union level.

Moreover, the Commission believes that a disaster management policy must include measures aimed at preventing this type of event. The Commission announced its intention to present an integrated approach to disaster prevention in the European Union, as well as a European Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in Developing Countries.

Civil protection

Civil protection

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Civil protection

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Civil protection

Today’s societies are more and more vulnerable to all kinds of risks, be they natural or technological, which can have serious environmental consequences. To help address these risks and be prepared to manage the crisis situations to which they can lead, the European Union has set up a mechanism for cooperation on assistance interventions and established programmes for the funding of civil protection measures.

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

  • Civil Protection Mechanism
  • Financing of civil protection measures (2007-2013)
  • Preventive alert against emergencies

ENVIRONMENTAL ACCIDENTS

  • Strengthening the European disaster response capacity
  • Prevention of natural or man-made disasters in the European Union
  • Disaster risk reduction in developing countries
  • Response to natural or man-made disasters
  • Major accidents involving dangerous substances
  • Transboundary effects of industrial accidents
  • Flood management and evaluation
  • Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Towards a Community programme for flood risk management

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 12 July 2004 “Flood risk management – flood prevention, protection and mitigation” [COM(2004) 472 final – Official Journal C 49, 28 February 2006].

Summary

The situation with regard to flooding

Between 1998 and 2002, Europe suffered over 100 major floods, including the catastrophic floods along the Danube and Elbe rivers in 2002. These floods had a disastrous impact on the people affected, in terms of their health (some 700 fatalities since 1998), their social situation (displacement of about half a million people) and their economic situation (at least EUR 25 billion in insured economic losses). These floods also had severe environmental consequences (risks of contamination when waste water treatment plants are affected or chemicals are involved, destruction of biodiversity, etc.).

The Commission indicates that river and coastal floods vary considerably in size and duration and that the root causes of floods (rainfall, storms or major variations in sea level) are natural phenomena and essentially uncontrollable. However, it also points out that the damage resulting from floods is very much influenced by human actions (clearing of forests, straightening of rivers, and extensive building in high-risk areas, etc.).

Lastly, the Commission considers that the frequency of flooding will increase (as a result of climate change and the growing increase in the number of people and economic assets in flood risk zones), calling for concerted action at EU level.

Action undertaken and in progress

The EU already has a number of instruments for flood prevention and management:

  • in the research area, with the 5th and 6th research framework programmes;
  • in the regional policy area, in particular with the Structural Funds, e.g. the INTERREG initiative and the Cohesion Fund;
  • with the EU solidarity fund, which grants rapid financial assistance;
  • in the field of the common agricultural policy, the reform of which focuses, in particular, on rural development;
  • in the environmental field, the Water Framework Directive will help to mitigate the effects of floods, even if this is not one of its main objectives, and the establishment of the monitoring and information centre (MIC) will serve to improve the preparedness of the national protection authorities.

For their part, several Member States have drawn up flood protection plans and strategies and flood risk maps. Their level of involvement and the type of initiatives they take depend however on the type of flood risk (river, coastal, etc.) to which the country is exposed and the degree of risk.

In addition, international cooperation is being established for river basins such as the Rhine, Oder, Meuse, Danube, Saar, Moselle and Elbe: the countries bordering these rivers have established bodies to ensure a coordinated approach to flood risk management and cross-border protection plans.

Towards a European action programme

The Commission proposes that the Member States should cooperate with it to draw up and implement a coordinated action programme for flood prevention, protection and mitigation.

This action plan would include in particular:

  • improving cooperation and coordination between Member States through the development and implementation of flood risk management plans for each adversely affected river basin and coastal zone;
  • development and implementation of flood risk maps by the Member States;
  • improving information exchange, sharing of experiences, and the coordinated development and promotion of best practices; these measures would in particular fall within the area of responsibility of the Commission;
  • developing stronger linkages between the research community and the authorities responsible for flood management;
  • improving coordination between the relevant Community policies;
  • increasing awareness of flood risks through wider stakeholder participation and more effective communication.

Lastly, in an annex, the communication sets out guidelines concerning the essential features of the flood risk management plans and flood risk maps to be drawn up by the Member States.

Related Acts

Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and[Official Journal L 288, 6.11.2007].
The objective of this Directive is to reduce and manage flood-related risks to human health, the environment and property, in particular along rivers and in coastal areas. It provides in particular for the evaluation of flood risk in river basins by 2011 and for flood mapping in all areas with a significant flood risk by 2013. It also provides for coordination within shared river basins, and for producing flood risk management plans through a broad participatory and cooperation process between Member States by 2015.

Communication from the Commission of 28 August 2002 – The European Community response to the flooding in Austria, Germany and several applicant countries – A solidarity-based initiative [COM(2002) 481 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Flood management and evaluation

Flood management and evaluation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Flood management and evaluation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Flood management and evaluation

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks.

Summary

The Directive aims to establish a common framework for assessing and reducing the risk that floods within the European Union pose to human health, the environment, property and economic activity.

The Directive covers all types of floods, both along rivers and in coastal areas. There are also other risks, such as urban floods and sewer floods, which must also be taken into account.

The proposed prevention and management measures are organised by river basin districts (which may cover several river basins), as established by the Water Framework Directive. The measures include the preliminary assessment of risks and the establishment of maps of areas at risk and flood management plans.

Preliminary assessment

Member States must carry out a preliminary assessment of risks for each river basin district or part of a district located in their territory by 22 December 2011 at the latest. This includes gathering information on the boundaries of river basins in the district concerned, floods that have occurred in the past, the likelihood of future floods and the estimated consequences.

On the basis of the assessment, Member States must categorise river basins according to whether or not they have a significant potential flood risk. This assessment and the resulting categories assigned to river basins must be published and reviewed by 22 December 2018 and every six years thereafter.

Flood risk maps

Member States must draw up maps identifying all areas posing a risk of flooding and indicating the probability (high, medium or low) of flooding for each of those areas and the potential damage for local populations, property and the environment.

These maps must be drawn up and published by 22 December 2013 at the latest. They must be reviewed every six years.

Flood risk management plans

Member States must prepare and implement flood risk management plans for each river basin district. Where the area concerned extends into several countries, the Member States must cooperate in preparing, as far as is possible, a single management plan.

In preparing a management plan, appropriate levels of protection must be established for each river basin, sub-basin and stretch of coastline and measures must be drawn up to achieve those levels of protection.

Management measures must focus on reducing the probability of flooding and the potential consequences of flooding. They must cover prevention, protection and preparedness and must take account of relevant aspects, such as water management, soil management, spatial planning, land use and nature conservation. These measures must not increase flood risks in neighbouring countries unless these measures have been coordinated and a solution has been found among the Member States concerned.

Each management plan must contain certain components, including the level of protection, the measures planned, flood risk maps, and, in subsequent management plans, an assessment of the progress made since the last management plan was implemented.

Flood risk maps and management plans must be coordinated with the Water Framework Directive, particularly as regards the characterisation of river basins, management plans for river basins and public consultation and information procedures.

All the parties concerned must be allowed to participate in an appropriate manner in preparing management plans. These plans must be completed and published by 22 December 2015. They must be reviewed every six years.

Background

Between 1998 and 2004, Europe suffered over 100 major floods, causing some 700 fatalities, the displacement of about half a million people and insured economic losses totalling at least 25 billion.

Floods are natural phenomena which cannot be prevented. However, human activity is contributing to increasing their likelihood and their impact. The risk of flooding and the scale of damage will increase in the future as a result of climate change, inappropriate river management, construction in flood risk areas and the increase in people and property in these areas.

Considering that most of the river basins in Europe are shared, action is more effective at Community level, since this allows better risk assessment and the coordination of measures taken by the Member States.

Before drawing up the proposal, the Commission consulted widely with interested parties and took advice from a wide range of experts, from specialists in hydrology and geology to local and regional authorities and the insurance industry.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2007/60/EC 26.11.2007 25.11.2009 OJ L 288 of 6.11.2007

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 12 July 2004 “Flood risk management – flood prevention, protection and mitigation” [

COM(2004) 472 final

– Not published in the Official Journal].
Given the risk to human life, property and the environment, the Commission has analysed the measures already adopted and proposed an action programme to prevent floods, protect against them and mitigate their effects.

Major accidents involving dangerous substances

Major accidents involving dangerous substances

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Major accidents involving dangerous substances

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Civil protection

Major accidents involving dangerous substances

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 96/82/EC of 9 December 1996 on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This Directive (Seveso II) replaced Directive 82/501/EEC (Seveso I, named after the Italian town which suffered exposure to an accidental release of dioxin in 1976).

Seveso establishments

The Directive’s scope was both broadened and simplified. It is applicable to any establishment where dangerous substances are present, or likely to be produced as a result of an accident, in quantities equal to or in excess of the quantities listed in the Annex. The Directive does not cover:

  • military establishments;
  • hazards created by ionising radiation;
  • the carriage of dangerous substances by road, rail, air and inland waterways;
  • the carriage of dangerous substances in pipelines outside the establishments covered by the Directive;
  • the exploitation of minerals, with the exception of chemical and thermal treatment operations and storage connected with such operations which lead to the presence of dangerous substances;
  • mineral prospecting and offshore exploitation activities;
  • waste landfill sites.

General obligations of the operator

Member States must ensure that the operator:

  • takes all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and to limit their consequences for man and the environment;
  • is required to prove to the competent authority that all the necessary measures provided for by the Directive have been taken.

The burden of proof for the latter obligation rests on the operator.

Notification

The Directive includes an obligation to notify under the principle that it is illegal for enterprises to hold large quantities of dangerous substances without informing the competent authorities within the time-limits specified by the Directive. This notification must contain the following details:

  • the name of the operator and the address of the establishment;
  • the registered place of business of the operator;
  • the name or position of the person in charge of the establishment;
  • information sufficient to identify the dangerous substances or category of substances involved;
  • the quantity and physical form of the dangerous substance or substances involved;
  • the activity or proposed activity of the installation or storage facility;
  • the immediate environment of the establishment.

In the event of a change in the situation (for example, the permanent closure of an establishment), the operator must immediately inform the competent authority.

Prevention policy

Member States must ensure:

  • that the operator draws up a document setting out his major-accident prevention policy;
  • that the policy is properly implemented.

Safety report

Member States must require the operator to produce a safety report for the purposes of:

  • demonstrating that a major-accident prevention policy and a safety management system have been put into effect;
  • demonstrating that major-accident hazards have been identified and that the necessary measures have been taken to prevent such accidents and to limit their consequences;
  • demonstrating that adequate safety and reliability have been incorporated into the design, construction, operation and maintenance of any installation, storage facility, equipment and infrastructure connected with its operation which are linked to major-accident hazards inside the establishment;
  • demonstrating that internal emergency plans have been drawn up;
  • supplying information to enable an external plan to be drawn up;
  • providing sufficient information to the competent authorities.

The safety report must contain certain specific information, including an updated inventory of the dangerous substances present in the establishment.

The report must be reviewed:

  • at least every five years, or
  • at any other time at the initiative of the operator or the request of the competent authority, where justified by new facts, or
  • in the event of a site being modified.

Under certain conditions, the operator may be granted a dispensation by the competent authority from providing certain information in the safety report, without this affecting the obligation to submit the report, however. Member States must notify the Commission of any dispensations, and the reasons why they were granted.

Emergency plans

Member States must ensure that all operators obliged to submit a safety report also draw up an internal emergency plan and supply the competent authorities with the information necessary to draw up an external emergency plan. The emergency plans must be reviewed, tested and where necessary revised and updated at least every three years.

Precautions regarding location

The competent authority must:

  • identify establishments or groups of establishments where the risk or consequences of a major accident could be increased due to the location and the proximity of the establishments and their holdings of dangerous substances;
  • ensure an exchange of information and cooperation between the establishments.

Information on safety measures

Member States must ensure that the objectives of preventing major accidents are taken into account in their land-use policies, notably through controls on the siting of new establishments, modifications to existing establishments and new developments (transport links, residential areas, etc.) in the vicinity of existing establishments. They must take into account the need, in the long term, to ensure that appropriate distances are maintained or created between establishments and residential areas.

Member States must ensure that information on safety measures and on the requisite behaviour in the event of an accident is supplied, without their having to request it, to persons liable to be affected by a major accident. They must also ensure that safety reports are made permanently available to the public.

Information to be provided following a major accident

Following a major accident, the operator must:

  • inform the competent authority;
  • provide them with information on the circumstances of the accident, the dangerous substances involved, the data available for assessing the effects of the accident on people and the environment and the emergency measures taken;
  • inform them of the steps envisaged to alleviate the effects of the accident and to prevent any recurrence of such an accident;
  • update the information provided.

The competent authority must:

  • ensure that emergency measures have been taken;
  • collect the information necessary for a full analysis of the accident;
  • ensure that the operator takes any necessary remedial measures;
  • make recommendations on future preventive measures.

Information to be provided by Member States to the Commission

Member States must inform the Commission of major accidents which have occurred within their territory. The information must initially comprise:

  • the name and address of the authority responsible for the report;
  • the date, time and place of the major accident;
  • the name of the operator and the address of the establishment;
  • a brief description of the circumstances of the accident;
  • a brief description of the emergency measures taken and of the immediate precautions necessary to prevent recurrence.

In order to fulfil its obligations with respect to informing Member States, the Commission must establish a file and an information system to collect all the data on major accidents occurring within the territory of Member States.

Inspection

The competent authorities must organise a system of inspections so as to ensure:

  • that the operator can demonstrate that he has provided appropriate means for preventing major accidents and limiting their consequences;
  • that the safety report is accurate and complete;
  • that information has been supplied to the public.

Prohibition of operations

Member States must prohibit the use or bringing into use of any establishment, installation or storage facility where the measures taken by the operator for the prevention of accidents are inadequate. Member States may also prohibit operations if the operator has not submitted, within the specified period:

  • the notification;
  • the reports;
  • any other information required by the Directive.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 96/82/EC

3.2.1997

3.2.1999

OJ L 10 of 14.1.1997

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2003/105/EC

31.12.2003

1.7.2005

OJ L 345 of 31.12.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003

20.11.2003

OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008

11.12.2008

OJ L 311 of 21.11.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 96/82/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for information only.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances [COM(2010) 781 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
On 21 December 2010 the Commission adopted a proposal for a new directive (Seveso III) to follow up the changes made to the EU’s system for the classification of dangerous substances, to which the Directive refers, and to clarify and update certain provisions in order to improve its implementation (strengthened provisions concerning inspections and public access to information).
Codecision procedure 2010/0377/COD

Commission Decision 2009/10/EC of 2 December 2008 establishing a major accident report form pursuant to Council Directive 96/82/EC on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances [Official Journal L 6 of 10.1.2009].

Commission Decision 98/433/EC of 26 June 1998 on harmonised criteria for dispensations according to Article 9 of Council Directive 96/82/EC on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances [Official Journal L 192 of 8.7.1998].