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ECJ sides with Pezinok citizens in communal-waste dump case
15 Jan 2013 Flash News
The European Court of Justice approved the claim of the citizens of the town of Pezinok in a case involving a local waste dump on Tuesday, January 15. The case, called Jozef Križan and others vs the Slovak Environment Inspection Authority, issued a verdict stating that the public must have access to decisions concerning any operation or facility that has an impact on the local environment.
The ECJ argued in the verdict that the protection of trade secrets cannot be cited as a reason to refuse citizens access to such information.
In 2006, the Regional Construction Office in Bratislava approved a decision concerning the placement of a waste dump in a nearby mining pit. The Slovak Environment Inspection Authority (SIŽP) opened a licensing proceeding in which citizens of Pezinok asked for the decision to be published. However, the SIŽP allowed for the construction and operation of the waste dump without publishing the decision. After an appeal was filed, a higher-instance body of environmental protection – after it had published the decision – confirmed the decision allowing the waste dump.
Citizens involved turned to the Slovak courts, and the Slovak Supreme Court turned to the ECJ to specify the extent of the public’s right to participate in licensing and permission proceedings concerning projects that crucially impact the environment.
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