7th EPA Network plenary meeting, Dessau

The Network of Heads of European Environment Protection Agencies held its 7th meeting in Dessau, Germany, on 14 - 15 September 2006. There were representatives from agencies from 19 countries, as well as from the European Commission and the European Environment Agency. The meeting was hosted by UBA, the Federal Environment Agency of Germany and BfN, the Nature Conservation Agency of Germany.

UBA and BfN gave a country presentation in the introduction section, followed by a presentation by Slovenia on the initial steps in setting up a Drought Management Centre for the South Eastern European Region.

In the first session, the Network discussed internal matters and the associated paper on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, released at the end of the meeting. 

The second session dealt with Biodiversity. The subject was introduced by means of presentations by the Netherlands, DG Env, and BfN, Germany. Following the presentations the Network agreed that there was a need for an interest group (IG) on Biodiversitywhich should focus on effects on biodiversity from agriculture without overlooking other important parts of biodiversity. Subsequently, the IG Biodiversity would take over the tasks of IG Agriculture. In the third session the EEA informed the Heads of EPAs about the developments regarding noise mapping and member state responsibilities under EU legislation.

In the fourth session developments in the areas of GMES/GEO, SEIS and Inspire were discussed. A summary of the results of the EPA Network GMES/GEO brainstorming meeting in June was provided. The members were encouraged to a) provide their views to their national representatives in the GMES Advisory Council, b) provide their input to the GEO 2007 – 2009 work plan. The status of the Fast Track Services (FP7) on air quality, land cover, soil contamination and marine were briefly discussed. The Commission and the EEA gave an overview of SEIS and Inspire. The network noted that a GMES network of users (GNU), lead by UBA Austria, had been established.

At the end of the first day CENIA invited interested EPAs to discuss a possible staff exchange programme between EPAs highlighting the benefits of exchanging resources and knowledge between EPAs.

On the second day the Network was informed about the status of interest group work.

  • The lead of the interest group on Climate change and adaptation was transferred from UBA, Germany to MNP, the Netherlands and will focus on comments on the Commission’s Green Paper.
  • The interest group on Sustainable use of natural resources finalised its contribution paper with the endorsement of 15 members. Further work will aim at identifying indicators for this area.
  • The interest group on Better regulation introduced its paper on Barriers to better regulation which they have been developing for the last 15 months. The Network agreed to publish it as a Network paper. The intention is to present it to the relevant stakeholders in Brussels.
  • The interest group on Agriculture agreed to cease its work and hand over the task to the IG on Biodiversity
  • The IG on Biodiversity (see section on biodiversity) was established
  • A new IG on Contaminated sites’ remediation was established under the lead of APAT, Italy. It will give inputs to the thematic strategy on soil and cover contamination of water, waste and soil. The IG will connect to Impel and to the  European Topic Centre on Land Use and Spatial Information and gather information on policy development, good practice and examples of Best Available Technologies (BAT).
  • The results of a survey within the IG on Environment and health was addressed by SEPA. SEPA will set up a meeting before the Helsinki meeting to identify a new focus for the work.
  • EA England &Wales enquired whether the Heads of EPAs would share an interest in discussing water, WFD and other strategic related issues and volunteered to take stock and follow-up at the next meeting in Helsinki in spring 2007.