Amendment to Aarhus Regulation officially published
Official publication has been made today of the amended version of the Aarhus Regulation, which aims to bring the Aarhus Regulation in line with the Aarhus Convention.
The Aarhus Convention guarantees access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. According to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, the EU was in breach of the Convention, as it did not guarantee access to justice for members of the public in environmental matters.
Following this conclusion, the Commission submitted a proposal to amend the Aarhus Regulation in October 2020, and the trilogue negotiations started by the end of 2020. The new version of the Regulation:
- (i) allows other members of the public (and not only NGOs) to request internal reviews of administrative acts. They must show that they are directly affected by the alleged contravention of environmental law or have sufficient public interest. In both cases, they have to be represented by an NGO or a lawyer;
- (ii) broadens the scope of administrative acts to include the provisions of administrative acts requiring implementing measures and national or EU level;
- (iii) maintains the exemption of administrative acts concerning State aid; and
- (iv) obliges EU institutions and bodies to publish review requests and decisions on them.
Specifically, the amended provisions of the Regulation are Article 2(1), points (g) and (h), Article 10 and Article 11. However, with regard to the latter, the new provisions on requests for internal review by members of the public shall apply from 29 April 2023.
Read the officially published amended Regulation here.