Environmental information on emergency authorisations of plant protection products
Due to their environmental effects, EU law bans certain plant protections products from placing on the market. Nevertheless, according to article 53 of Regulation (EC) 1107/2009, Member States may, under specific circumstances, authorise them for a limited period. The Austrian Federal Office for Food Safety (BAES) issued such an emergency authorization in 2020 for the pesticide “Poncho Beta”. A request by the environmental NGO ÖKOBÜRO to disclose the relevant permission as well as documents and expert opinions was rejected. The Federal Administrative Court (BVwG) now clarified that these authorisations as well as the application for authorisation and all other assessment documents informing the decision fall under the definition of “environmental information” and must be disclosed.
CJEU clarifies species protection rules
In its ruling from March 4th (C-473/19 and C-474/19), the European Court of Justice (CJEU) confirmed the strict protection set out in both Art 12 Habitats Directive and Art 5 Birds Directive. In this case, the national authorities had failed to apply the prohibitions under both directives to forestry measures. The CJEU therefore clarified that the application of the prohibitions does not depend on the fact that the measure in question is detrimental to the conservation status of the species concerned. The court further confirmed that the prohibitions under Art 5 Birds Directive reach farther than those of the Habitats Directive, as the prohibitions under the Birds Directive apply to all species of naturally occurring birds in the wild state in the European territory of the member states to which the Treaty applies.