More than 400 ENAC-accredited bodies help to improve environmental protection and biodiversity preservation
Healthy ecosystems, rich in biodiversity, are fundamental to human existence. One million species of plants and animals are facing extinction, some in just decades. According to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), this will significantly reduce nature's ability to contribute to people's well-being. That is why the World Environment Day 2020, which took place on 5 June, decided to focus on the emergency to safeguard our natural environment.
Therefore, ensuring adequate environmental protection is key to preserving biodiversity and it requires controls for water and air quality; the impact of discharges and greenhouse gas emissions; and environmental management assessment in, for example, companies. In our country, more than 400 ENAC-accredited bodies have demonstrated the necessary technical capacity to carry out more than 500 environmental assessment and control activities, making environmental protection and preserving biodiversity more efficient.
As part of the accredited activities, testing laboratories and inspection bodies carry out important work to control and assess different areas that have an environmental impact, such as testing and control activities of discharges; inland, groundwater and marine waters; quantifying pollutants in soils, sediments, sludge and waste; environmental radioactivity levels; and air quality assessment and monitoring, by measuring pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, suspended particles, sulphur-oxides or carbon dioxide, present in the air or emitted into the atmosphere.
These accredited services also provide assurances for impact control and monitoring of companies' activities. Examples of these services would be the environmental management systems certification in accordance with ISO 14001, the EMAS (The European Environmental Management and Audit Scheme) European inspection of energy management systems Regulation, as well as greenhouse gas inspections and emission reports which ensure that companies' emissions measurements are reliable.
Emissions inspection activities carried out by accredited services include the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which requires air operators flying international flights' CO2 emissions to be measured, reviewed and inspected.
Support for environmental regulation
Environmental protection and control is a matter of great importance to different local, regional, national and European administrations. Therefore, different administrative bodies are increasingly demanding a proven, technically competent service, with accreditation requirements included in their provisions to achieve their public policy objectives.
Therefore, local to European level administrations are relying on accreditation for critical environmental protection activities, some being: the control of water and air quality; emissions and discharges; as well as the environmental impact of many activities and facilities. Among other examples, different public administrations have put their trust in services accredited for compliance inspection with requirements set out in the EMAS Regulation, or the various environmental authorisations in industrial facilities, companies and business centres. Another example, in this regard, is the Royal Decree 235/2018, which states that the biofuel or biolyquid sustainability inspection report required by economic operators hosting the National Sustainability Inspection System, must be issued by a sustainability inspection body accredited by ENAC.
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