About Common Forum


 Activities

To fulfill its mission of exchanges of experience and knowledge COMMON FORUM holds regular meetings to discuss current legal, technical and organizational issues in the field of contaminated land management and land recycling with respect to “sustainable resource protection”.

Several types of actions are currently conducted:

  • Development of new concepts for Contaminated land management:
    the Risk based land management has been developed in 2000 for designing solutions for “legacy sites” (where the preventive regulations were not in force or have been insufficient) at regional and site scales.

Dr. D. Darmendrail (COMMON FORUM Secretariat 2008-2017) interviewed during "Soil 2012" in Bilbao - Basque Country
(IHOBE Gobierno Vasco TV on Youtube)
    It is now in place in some EU countries (the Netherlands, France or Austria). Considered as the third generation of legal frameworks (1 – Drastic source control / inventories, 2 – risk assessment), it is based on 4 dimensions (fitness for use, protection of the environment, long term care and management constraints).

  • Critical analysis of EU Directives proposals: the regulatory environment at the European level is quite complex now.
    Its implementation at the local level (site management) requires additional legal and technical work in order to be cost-efficient.

    • The exchange of information between the network experts is done via thematic questionnaires (Environmental Liability Directive Implementation, Industrial Emission Directive Implementation, regulatory framework in Member States, Mining residues inventory).
    • The COMMON FORUM has continuously discussed the technical and political aspects of the contaminated soil issues in the original proposal and in the alternative versions under each Presidency. Having failed to reach agreement in Council, in light of the desire of many Member States to have a framework directive for soil, and convinced that common grounds could be found; a “special task force” of COMMON FORUM members from some Member States was established in July 2010 during the Belgian Presidency. An agreement was found and an alternative proposal for a Soil Protection Directive has been published and proposed to EU institutions.

Click on picture to see enlarged view

  • Technical support to network members on specific issues.
  • Proposal of technical guidance documents for EU Directives implementation (e.g. guidance values for contaminated soil management, application of the polluter pays principle, how to tackle uncertainties, INSPIRE consultation for soil data collection).
  • Identification of RTD needs and discussions with researchers on specific topics such as the need for harmonisation for deriving soil screening values in Europe.  The geographical & geological contexts and the land use needs are too different in Europe to have a unique set of soil quality standards. But some common ground could be found on technical issues (with the development of a tool box for risk assessment and common protocols and sets of exposure factors) and even political issues (such as the targets to be protected or the substances to be covered / excluded).

When possible, common views are developed and expertise is offered to the European Commission, relevant stakeholder networks and European Union research projects (via participation in advisory boards).

Collaboration has been established with the main European and International networks or initiatives operating in the same field such as NICOLE (industry and service providers), Sednet (Sediment management), Cabernet (Brownfield regeneration), Eurodemo+ (innovative technologies), Snowman (national research funders club) and IMPEL (European environmental inspectorate).

COMMON FORUM presentation and main focus
(Diaporama by D. Darmendrail - 2012 - PDF file - 669 KB)

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