Non-implementation of environmental law cost EU €55 billion in 2018

The costs to the EU of not implementing EU environmental laws in 2018 was around €55 billion, according to a new report.

The report, published on Friday 5 April by the European Commission’s Directorate General for the Environment, aims to provide an up-to-date estimate of the costs and foregone benefits for member states of not fully implementing EU environmental legislation, such as reduced biodiversity, increased risks from air and noise pollution and lost revenues from recyclable materials.

The study evaluated the costs of EU member states not fully achieving environmental targets across seven policy areas: air, nature and biodiversity, water, waste, chemicals, industrial emissions and major accident hazards, and horizontal instruments.

The largest implementation gap cost estimate was attributed to air quality, with a central estimate of €24.6 billion of costs in 2018, with nature and biodiversity and water following at €13.1 billion and €9.3 billion respectively. The central estimate of the cost of not fully implementing waste law was €4 billion. The size of the implementation gaps was calculated using the difference between estimates of the 2018 environmental status in each policy area and the respective environmental targets.