Part 4 of this guidance is about the evaluation and feedback given from practitioners of the (national) authorities competent for the implementation and enforcement to actors and stakeholders in the legislative process. It also concerns the evaluation and exchange of feedback between colleagues. In this last case it can be the inspector giving feedback to the permit writer and the other way around.
Purpose and aim Feedback mechanism
Evaluation and feedback is given on the practicability and enforceability of new and existing legislation. The overall aim is improving the implementation of environmental law. Feedback can also be used to contribute in achieving EU and national ambitions, e.g. on establishing a resource efficient economy (circular economy) and reaching climate goals. For effective evaluation and feedback, planning and organisation of the legislative process at European and national level must provide adequate opportunities to gather and assess this evaluation and feedback properly from practitioners. Also the involvement of practitioners needs to be organised. This can be achieved by using the feedback and evaluation mechanism.
Practicability and enforceability
Problems of practicability arise when competent authorities for the implementation and enforcement encounter difficulties in the practical application of legislation, inspection and enforcement and permitting. These issues can arise because insufficient attention has been paid to the need for proper transposition into national law and application through individual administrative decisions, or to the need for adequate infrastructure and resources. Also problems of practicability may be faced by the regulated target group when their obligations, as defined by the legislator, are unclear or unrealistic.
As shown in the presentation of the Regulatory Cycle, a systematic compliance and enforcement programme triggers a feedback mechanism. The information derived from enforcement response, compliance-promotion efforts and compliance checking need to be assessed so that the appropriate elements in the cycle can consider and improve the process. This could mean, in practice, reconsidering a law or its parts (returned to policy-makers and parliament), and changing the formulation of conditions in permits so that they become clearer and more enforceable (regulations applied by permitting bodies and agencies). This will ensure that the continuous process shown in the Regulatory Cycle will work to improve laws and regulations for the environment and will be able to achieve the goals set in these same laws. Actors are national policy makers and legislators, national authorities competent for the implementation and enforcement, IMPEL and other Implementation and Enforcement networks and regulated target groups (businesses).
Checklist on evaluation of regulatory activities
To assess short comings in the enforceability and practicabilityof regulatory activities and to give effective feedback to policy makers or between inspectors and permit writers, a set of questions relating to the enforceability and practicabilitycan be used. The questions e.g. relate to the quality of the legislation (e.g. the used definitions and terms) and on the practicability of compliance by the targeted group (e.g. are the obligations easily achievable/realistic).
Checklist on evaluation of regulatory activities on eco-innovation
Since ambitions at both EU and at Member State level on developing a circular economy are far-reaching. Also the implementation of the Paris Climate agreement requires increasing efforts of the EU member states to reach the agreed targets. Therefore, more business are carrying out eco-innovations. Eco-innovations are vital for helping to solve persistent environmental problems in the EU, for combatting climate change and in particular to act as a catalyst and scale-up in the transition to a circular economy. Also the implementation of the Paris Climate agreement requires increasing efforts of the EU member states to reach the agreed targets.
Eco-innovation refers to any innovation that aims to reduce the use of natural resources and/or to decrease the release of harmful substances across the whole life-cycle.
When carry through eco-innovations, barriers can be encountered in the current European environmental legislation, which may be not fit for purpose to enable eco-innovations. To assess these short comings or bottlenecks in the legislation and give feedback to adapt legislation (e.g. relating to different waste processing and recovering) a checklist can be used. The questions e.g. relate to short comings in used definitions (e.g. waste definition) or those relating to emerging techniques.
Organisation of feedback on short comings in regulatory activities
This can be done by:
- Direct feedback to the ministry because of close engagement but also by formal letters;
- Through conferences organised by national level;
- Periodic evaluation groups (4 to 5 times a year) that are established for this issue;
- Special activities upon request of national level. This was considered as one of the weakest links within the cycle
Support from MS in the IED Implementation
The IED makes provisions for the establishment of two groups involving representatives from Member States to support the implementation of the IED. These are:
- The IED Article 13 Forum: a formal expert group set up to exchange of information between Member States, the industries concerned, non-governmental organisations promoting environmental protection and the Commission. The focus of this group is to review and form an opinion on the proposed content of the BAT reference documents.
- The IED Article 75 Committee: a formal Committee set up to assist the Commission by delivering opinions on implementing acts, including guidance on the collection of data and on the drawing up of BAT reference documents and on their quality assurance, BAT conclusions, implementing rules for large combustion plants and the type, format and frequency of reporting by Member States.
- The Industrial Emissions Expert Group (IEEG: An informal group established to facilitate the exchange of experiences and good practices concerning interpretation, transposition and implementation of the IED)