EU Legislation: environmental risk TERMINOLOGY

GEM-RG Decision Support research component has developed one of the widest TERMINOLOGY review currently available for the EU environmental risk assessment LEGISLATION.


The objective of our research is to provide the most elaborate and state-of-the-art review of EU acquits from the viewpoint of terminology related to environmental risk assessment. Almost 50 operative environmental risk assessment-related laws have been reviewed and it contains more than 500 definitions. The resulting novel digital vocabulary gives the entries definitions in various directives, and it provides the links and statistical evaluation of definitions such as the counting of definition occurrences, connections using statistic measurements, etc.

Besides revealing overlaps and contradictions in legislation already at the level of basic terminology, our interactive vocabulary enables the user to identify those directives that are the most referred by other legislation and thus form basic sources for strong and recognised terminology. Research results illustrate how the directives are connected to each other and may provide a clue for finding a way out of the labyrinth of environmental legislation terminology.



OVERLAPING & CONTRADICTING legislative terminology?

It is amazing that simple terms such as “dangerous” substance, “pollution”, “waste” or “risk” have no uniformly accepted meanings even in scientific research. Moreover, basic terms like “hazard”, “potential impact” and “potential risk” are often used in various context in EU legislation. For example, the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) talks about “hazardous substance”, while the SEVESO II Directive (96/82/EC) defines “dangerous substance”.


However, defining common terminology is not an easy task and experts are still challenged by developing reliable and recognised definitions. At the same time, efficient environmental protection and water management demands legislation with definition of basic terms at the core, most prominently EU acquit. Are these definitions given in various EU directives the same or are there overlaps and contradictions? Most often a multiple of legislation has to be used in environmental assessment such as river basin management plans, flood risk mitigation or waste management. The confusion in the legally binding basic terminology is hard to solve. There is a clear need to identify the correlations of different directives and to develop a vocabulary which collects all the most important terms in a transparent and pragmatic way.


The lack of standard uniform terminology for environmental assessment is hindering further development, concerted scientific research and harmonised actions for environmental risk assessment and mitigation in Europe. In this study, the most thorough review of environmental assessment terminology in EU legislation currently available is presented and offered to expert and non-expert communities.

List of legal Documents

List of legal Documents – Click to download PDF!


See Publications for papers.

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