Tougher controls for firms using dangerous chemicals
Plastics companies in the European Union which store potentially dangerous chemicals on their premises will have to abide by tougher management standards to prevent industrial accidents by 2015. This is because the European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU Council of Ministers have struck an agreement on the contents of a new law - the Seveso III directive - that will include new safety rules for chemical-using businesses. Named after the site (in Italy) of a notorious 1976 chemical industry accident, the law will force plastics manufacturers to "progressively improve on their level of safety", said a communiquŽ from the Danish government, that currently holds the presidency of the EU. Tightening rules already in place under the 1997 Seveso II directive, the new law will also force EU member states to publish information on the internet about the location of plants covered by the directive and on how the public should react in a chemical accident emergency. It protects protestors' rights to launch court challenges to planning decisions on the siting of such plants.