Press Release - Discussing the prevention of major accidents and the limitation of their consequences
26.09.2012, 13:32 (CET)
The protection of people and the environment in case of major accidents involving dangerous substances was the main topic on the agenda in discussions facilitated by the Cyprus Presidency during a meeting of the Experts Group of the Competent Authorities for implementation of the Seveso II Directive. The meeting was held at the ‘Filoxenia’ Conference Centre, in Lefkosia (Nicosia) between September 24 and 26, 2012, and was attended by representatives of the European Commission, the competent authorities of EU Member States as well as representatives of International and European bodies.

The meeting began with a seminar entitled “Land Use Planning”, during which the policies followed in Member States for siting new major hazard installations, as well as development around existing major hazard installations, were presented. The Cyprus Presidency facilitated a discussion on the topic and participants exchanged viewpoints.

The seminar was co-organised by the Department of Labour Inspection of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance of the Republic of Cyprus and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

Coordination and cooperation between public and private entities required

Addressing the seminar, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance of Cyprus, Mr Georgios Papageorgiou, referred to the importance attached to ensuring high levels of protection for human health and the environment from the use of hazardous substances. He noted that, " the management of the health hazards of facilities covered by the Seveso II Directive is, in fact, a complex problem and at the same time a great challenge, if we take into consideration that for the prevention of these accidents and the restriction of their consequences to humans and the environment, coordination and cooperation between public and private entities, as well as the contribution of citizens, is required”.

The problems Member States face in implementing the Seveso II Directive, which aims to ensure high levels of protection throughout the European Union by requiring European countries to identify high-risk industrial sites and to take appropriate measures to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and limit their consequences for man and the environment, was discussed at the meeting and views were exchanged on how these problems can be better addressed.  The EU Commission representative informed participants on the provisions of the new Seveso III Directive, adopted in 2012 and set to apply from June 2015.

During the last day of the meeting, participants undertook a technical visit at the Vasilikos Power Station and the petroleum and gas storage depots in Larnaca. Issues related to siting installations at which a major hazard accident may occur, developments around such installations and the distribution of relevant information to the public were presented.

The meeting is expected contribute to the improvement of collaboration between Member States aiming to prevent major accidents and limit their consequences to human life and the environment. The protection of human life and the environment forms the main policy axis of the European Union and is a component of the European Strategy ‘Europe 2020’ through which growth of a, viable, competitive and effective - from a resource perspective -, economy is being pursued.

Communications Officer
Maria Lantidou

Ministry of Labour & Social Insurance

Telephone: +357 22401676


24.09.2012 - 26.09.2012