EU regions and cities call for compensatory payments to tackle industrial pollution

EU regions and cities call for compensatory payments to tackle industrial pollution

The European Committee of the Regions strongly
supports the polluter pays principle and
strengthening penalties and calls for financial
compensation for local and regional authorities as
pollution hits locally first.

The European Union’s regions and cities keep
pushing for an ambitious energy and climate agenda
that would accelerate a sustainable and just
transition towards climate-neutrality while
protecting the environment, reducing pollution and
improving citizen’s health and living conditions.
In an


on revising the Industrial Emissions Directive, the
European Committee of the Regions (CoR) stresses
the need to adjust its environmental and
competitiveness objectives to avoid unfair
competition from third countries. CoR members point
out at the lack of consistency in the
implementation of the Directive across Member
States and call for penalties to be re-directed to
the benefit of cities and regions as a form of
compensation for the impacts of industrial


The industry sector accounts for a considerable share
of greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) and overall pollution
in the EU. Reducing emissions and pollution from large
industrial installations is crucial to achieve the EU’s
energy, climate and environmental objectives, including

EU’s zero pollution ambition
, under the

European Green Deal.

Contributing to the ongoing revision of measures to
address pollution from industry, the CoR has adopted

‘Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)’

opinion. Around 50,000 industrial
installations in the EU are subject to the rules set by
this Directive, the revision of which aims at reducing
emissions, promoting resource efficiency and curtailing
the use of hazardous chemicals by setting agreed
standards for different industrial activities.

The CoR rapporteur

Jean-Noël Verfaillie

(FR/Renew Europe), mayor of Marly, said:

“Industrial emissions are certainly a highly
technical yet no less sensitive aspect for the
competitiveness of European businesses, which are
subject to a global competition in all its
different sectors. We must improve the Industrial
Emissions Directive with caution, encouraging
innovative industrial processes that contribute to
the EU’s green transition while ensuring a
regulatory landscape that is favourable to the
industrial and strategic autonomy of the European
Union, the lack of which was clearly exposed during
the COVID-19 pandemic.”

EU regions and cities recall that pollution hits
locally first, endangering the environment as much as
citizens’ health and their quality of life. Local and
regional authorities therefore ask to receive
compensatory payments from penalties to tackle the
environmental, health, social and economic impacts of

The CoR stresses that any extension of the IED to new
sectors needs to be based on a cost-benefit analysis.
CoR members call on EU co-legislators to make the
implementation of the IED more consistent and to take
into account the costs and challenges of the transition
in the context of the EU’s trade policy in order to
avoid unfair competition from third countries.

EU regions and cities welcome the establishment of the
Innovation Centre for Industrial Transformation and
Emissions (INCITE) and propose to include local and
regional authorities in its future activities.

One of the main proposals of the revision of the IED is
to require by 2030 that operators include in their
environmental management system a Transformation Plan
containing information on how the installation will
transform itself during the 2030-2050 period in order
to contribute to a sustainable, clean, circular and
climate-neutral economy by 2050.

The opinion on the IED revision is part of the CoR
contribution to accelerate climate mitigation in the EU
and the reduction of air pollutants, discharges and
waste that contaminates European waters, soils and air,
with drastic effects on citizens’ health.

The energy and climate crisis has been at the forefront
of discussions at the

CoR’s October plenary session

and the

2022 European Week of Regions and Cities.

During a

plenary debate on COP27

, the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), CoR members called for the
EU’s response to the energy crisis not to undermine the
EU’s climate ambition. The

3rd meeting of the Zero Pollution
Stakeholder Platform

also took place this week, with cities and regions
recalling their key role in reducing pollution across
the EU. The need to decarbonise transport to reduce
carbon emissions and improve citizens’ health was

this week’s key concerns.

Following the publication of the

8th Cohesion Report

in February,

CoR members recalled

the paramount role of cohesion policy in reducing
disparities between EU regions while helping the Union
to achieve a just transition, reducing the dependence
from fossil fuels and becoming more energy-independent.
Through the adoption of an opinion on a

‘Just and Sustainable Transition in the context
of the coal and energy intensive regions’

by rapporteur

Sari Rautio

(FI/EPP), members stressed the need to support the
energy and manufacturing sector, industries and SMEs in
their conversion towards climate-neutrality.

The European Committee of the Regions

2022 EU annual report on the state of regions
and cities

indicates that local and regional authorities are
facing unpredictable and extreme weather conditions
more frequently and increasingly complex climate-change
risks, due to global warming deregulating the climate.
The climate crisis is listed amongst the current
biggest challenges for local and regional authorities,
in addition to the economic recovery from the COVID-19
pandemic and the energy and inflation crisis.

Additional information:


2022 CoR annual report

specifies that global warming has a severe direct
impact on GDP growth. In a 3°C scenario, net losses for
countries north of the Alps are estimated to be 0.2% to
0.6% GDP while southern and southeast European
countries’ net loss may total up to 2.8% of GDP.
Between 1980 and 2020, economic damages from
climate-related events amounted to at least €419
billion in the EU (economic loss average of €12 billion
per year) and affected nearly 50 million people. Over
80% of losses and 95% of fatalities can be attributed
to natural disasters caused by weather and
climate-related extremes. Climate damages could reach
€170 billion per year, warns the CoR’s annual report,
since floods, wildfires, and extreme heat are
increasing rapidly.


Zero Pollution Stakeholder Platform

is a joint initiative of the CoR and the European
Commission. Supporting local and regional authorities
deploying concrete measures to reduce pollution is a
key objective of

Green Deal Going Local

, the CoR flagship initiative to place cities and
regions at the heart of the EU’s transition towards

On October 6, the European Committee of the Regions

elected Rafał Trzaskowski

(PL/EPP), Mayor of Warsaw, as new chair of the CoR’s

ENVE Commission


Green Deal Going Local

working group.

Click here

to access the October plenary photo album.


David Crous

Tel: +32 (0) 470 88 10 37

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