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Regional Knowledge Center

EU environmental policy

EU Environmental Acquis Overview

Objectives and principles for the implementation of environmental policy in the EU are set out in the Treaty on European Community, Head XIX.

The EU Environment Acquis includes more than 200 legislative acts under the following ten broad categories.

  1. Horizontal (environmental impact assessments, access to information, strategic environmental assessment, public participation, and environmental
  2. liability);
  3. Air Quality (ambient air, VOCs from petrol stations, SO2, NOx, particulate and lead emissions; Sulphur content in Fuel, Vehicle emissions, Emission Trading, Emission Ceilings, Ambient Ozone);
  4. Waste Management (hazardous waste, packaging waste, sewerage sludge, waste oils disposal, PCBs/PCTs, battery disposal and labeling, landfill of waste, incineration of waste, disposal of vehicles, waste electronics disposal, hazardous substances);
  5. Water Quality (Urban Wastewater, Drinking Water, Nitrates, Bathing Water, Groundwater, Dangerous Substances to water, Mercury, Cadmium, HCH Discharges, Surface Water Abstraction, Shellfish water, Fish water);
  6. Nature Protection (Habitats, Wild Birds, Zoos);
  7. Industrial Pollution Control (Pollution Prevention and Control, Solvents, Large Combustion Plants);
  8. Chemicals (Dangerous Substances, Release of GMOs, Animal Experiments, Asbestos, Biocides);
  9. Noise
  10. Climate change
  11. Industrial risk management and civil defence.


The number of directives is large—but in practice, many functions can be integrated and use common management systems. 


This section provides an overview of the EU environmental policy in the following fields:

This project is funded by the European Union

And implemented by a consortium led by