In Europe, the catastrophic accident in the Italian town of Seveso in 1976 prompted the adoption of legislation on the prevention and control of major accidents involving dangerous substances. The so-called SEVESO Directive (Directive 82/501/EEC) was gradually amended in view of integrating:
- lessons learned from later accidents such as Bhopal, Toulouse or Enschede,
- changes in the Union legislation on the classification of chemicals, and
- increased rights of citizens to access information and justice,
resulting into SEVESO II (Directive 96/82/EC) and SEVESO III (Directive 2012/18/EU).
The Directive now applies to more than 10.000 industrial establishments in the European Union where dangerous substances are used or stored in large quantities, mainly in the chemical, petrochemical, logistics and metal refining sectors.
The Directive is widely considered as a benchmark for industrial accident policy and has been a model for legislation in many countries worldwide.
Considering the very high rate of industrialisation in most PPRD East 2 Partner Countries and that the use of dangerous chemicals is necessary in some industrial sectors, the transposition of the SEVESO Directive in national legislation is an important priority in view to achieving a low frequency of major accidents and limiting the consequences of such accidents for human health and for the environment.
Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO) of the European Commission and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) recently initiated a long-term technical programme to facilitate the implementation of the SEVESO Directive and strengthen chemical accident prevention in the European Neighbourhood countries.
As clarified with DG ECHO, DG ECHO’s project “SEVESO Capacity Building in EU Neighbourhood Countries” takes the lead in providing support to the six Partner Countries on transposition and implementation of the SEVESO Directive. The PPRD East 2 will closely coordinate its activities with this project and, where and when relevant, will provide ad-hoc assistance.