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Outcome of the 29th meeting of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee

he twenty-ninth meeting of the Compliance Committee of the UNECE Aarhus Convention took place in Geneva from 21 to 24 September 2010. The main outcomes of the meeting were as follows:
  • The Committee discussed the substance of communication ACCC/C/2009/44 alleging non-compliance by Belarus with the provisions of the Convention in connection with the construction of a nuclear power plant in the country. Representatives of both the Party concerned and the communicant participated in the formal discussions. The communicant alleged that the Party concerned did not provide complete and accurate information to the public that had requested information about the project; and that the Party concerned in general failed to ensure early and proper public participation in the decision-making, as required by the Convention. The Party concerned denied the allegations of the communication. The Committee will proceed to prepare draft findings and, where appropriate, recommendations.
  • After having taken into account the comments submitted by the parties, the Committee proceeded to finalize its findings with respect to four communications. Three communications concerned the United Kingdom: Communication ACCC/C/2008/23 in connection with fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive review procedures in private nuisance proceedings against Hinton Organics (Wessex); Communication ACCC/C/2008/27 in connection with public participation and access to justice regarding the decision to expand the Belfast City Airport; and Communication ACCC/C/2008/33 in connection with the scope of judicial review, costs, timing and other issues related to access to justice in England and Wales. One communication, Communication ACCC/C/2009/37, concerned Belarus in connection with access to information and public participation related to decision-making on a hydro power plant on the Neman River. The Committee requested the secretariat to send the finalized findings to the parties.
  • The Committee continued its deliberations in closed session on four communications, which had been formally discussed with the parties at the Committee’s twenty-fifth and twenty-seventh meetings: Communication ACCC/C/2008/32 concerning the European Union in connection with access by the members of the public to review procedures; Communication ACCC/C/2009/38 concerning the United Kingdom, in connection with access to information and public participation regarding the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route bypass; Communication ACCC/C/2009/41 concerning Slovakia, in connection with public participation in decision-making on the completion of the Mochovce nuclear power plant; and Communication ACCC/C/2009/43 concerning Armenia, in connection with public participation related to decision-making on the long-term exploitation of copper and molybdenum deposits in Teghut, in the Lori region. The Committee completed its work on the preparation of the draft findings for two of these communications ACCC/C/2009/41 (Slovakia) and ACCC/C/2009/43 (Armenia). It requested the secretariat to send the draft to the Parties concerned and the communicants for comment in accordance with the procedure set out in paragraph 34 of the annex to decision I/7. The Committee would take into account any comments when finalizing the findings at its thirtieth meeting.
  • The Committee reviewed four new communications, two of which were determined preliminarily admissible. For the other two, the Committee asked the secretariat to request additional information by the communicant and deferred its decision on the preliminary admissibility of these two communications to its thirtieth meeting (14-17 December 2010), until the requested information is submitted.
  • Finally, the Committee, after reviewing the additional information submitted by the communicant at the Committee’s request, decided on the preliminary admissibility of Communication ACCC/C/2010/45, which had been submitted at the Committee’s twenty-seventh meeting (16-19 March 2010). In this case, the Committee identified that legal issues raised by the communication had already been dealt with by the Committee in light of its deliberations in previous communications concerning compliance by the Party concerned, and decided that summary proceedings would apply.

Ref: ECE/ENV/10/P29

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