The Federal Environmental Inspection of the Environment Directorate General has been designated to track and establish violations of the Federal Environment Legislation and Standards.
The competences for this are determined by the Law of December 21st, 1998 concerning the product standards for the advancement of sustainable production and consumption patterns and for the protection of the environment, public health and the employees (hereinafter abbreviated as: the Law Product Standards).
The assignment of the Federal Environmental Inspection is checking the compliance by companies and private individuals with the legal arrangements concerning the bringing of products on the market and in some individual cases concerning their use.
The purpose of this check is to avoid the potentially damaging consequences which these products may have for the human health and/or the environment, by taking sanctioning actions.
The legal basis for this is mainly article 15 of the Law Product Standards and article 1 of the Royal Decree of November 16th, 2000 for the designation of officials of the Service for the Environment charged with the surveillance assignments.
The areas to which the Law Product Standards applies, are determined and outlined to a large extent by different European Directives and Regulations, which relate at least to the same matters, that is to say to the bringing on the market of products with potentially harmful consequences for the human health and/or the environment.
These areas can be classified in a chemical section, which constitutes the lion's share, and a physical section, which is also being extended.
Besides the Law Product Standards, also the Law of July 11th, 1969 concerning the raw materials for agriculture, horticulture, forestry and cattle breeding, particularly article 6, provides a legal foundation for the action of the Federal Environmental Inspection.
In order to exercise its inspection activities in the area, the Federal Environmental Inspection can appeal to 7 inspectors and 7 technical experts.
As to exactly which areas does the Federal Environmental Inspection have competence, which possibilities does it have to take action, and when will it do so? The answer to these questions can be found in the following sections:
• Control areas
• Proceedings and penalties
• Types of Inspections