The Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications (DETEC) has recently launched a consultation period to discuss proposed changes to environmental regulations. This initiative, which started on June 15, 2023, aims to address various key areas, including contaminated sites, water protection, forest management, and chemical risk reduction. Stakeholders have until October 6, 2023, to contribute their opinions.
With approximately 38,000 contaminated sites across the country, Switzerland faces the challenge of remediating around 4,000 of them. Some major clean-up projects generate substantial amounts of contaminated excavated material, posing difficulties for its proper disposal using current methods.
To tackle this issue, the cantons have requested federal permission to reintroduce such material back into the remediation sites, under specific conditions. These conditions ensure that this approach reduces environmental impact compared to alternative disposal methods and eliminates the need for further monitoring or remediation. The guidelines for this reintroduction process will be outlined in the updated regulations on contaminated sites.
Furthermore, Switzerland intends to align its refrigerant regulations with EU standards and the latest technological advancements. By restricting the use of highly climate-damaging refrigerants in new installations, the country aims to meet its commitments under the Montreal Protocol.
As part of the consultation, stakeholders can provide their valuable insights to shape effective and sustainable environmental protection measures in Switzerland.