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Thursday, 15 July 2010

Court supports EU decision on fuel additive

Europe's highest court has rejected a claim from an American company that an EU decision to restrict a potentially risky chemical compound was unlawful. The outcome will be seen as a vindication of the precautionary principle, the ‘better-safe-than-sorry' approach that underpins many EU laws to protect health and the environment. In a judgement yesterday (8 July), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that an EU law to restrict the fuel additive MMT was lawful. The ECJ rejected the company's claim that restrictions were unlawful. “In the absence of adequate and reliable data”, EU lawmakers were faced with “serious doubts...as to whether MMT was harmless for health and the environment”, the court said. Therefore the EU was justified using the precautionary principle “to take protective measures without having to wait for the reality and the seriousness of those risks to be fully demonstrated”. The ECJ also rejected the company's complaint about a legal requirement that all fuel containing MMTs bear the label “contains metallic additives”. This was an appropriate way to ensure consumers' right to information, the judgement said. Mike Lewis, Afton's vice-president and managing director for Europe, added: “Despite the overall ruling, we are pleased that the court confirmed the need for an independent scientific risk assessment and the interim nature of the limits.” A spokeswoman for the Commission said: “The Commission welcomes the ECJ's unequivocal endorsement of the legislation adopted by the Council and Parliament and looks forward to its full implementation by the member states.”

Source: European Voice