Business asks to unlock the environmental impact assessment procedure
As a result of russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and for the sake of national security, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine restricted access to the Unified Register of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on March 23, 2022. To access the system, companies must send a request by filling out a special form. At the same time, the Government prohibits the obtainment of EIA opinion (a permitting document), on the basis of a declaration.
So, during the 70 days of martial law there are some difficulties with the conduct of the environmental impact assessment, namely:
- The EIA procedures have been suspended in the areas of active hostilities. This concerns both the new ones and the ones already started before the imposition of martial law, including due to the physical lack of access to working premises and documentation. According to preliminary information, it is considered to transfer EIA cases from the authorized territorial bodies (regional state administrations) to the authorized central body (Ministry of Environment), but there is currently no legal regulation of this issue. Besides, it is also appropriate to switch to electronic document management.
- The issuance of the EIA conclusion is delayed due to situations when the public discussion ended before the imposition of martial law or should have ended at this time. According to the Law on EIA, an opinion on EIA is issued within 25 working days from the date of completion of the public discussion. In this context, it would be appropriate to reduce these deadlines, given the fact that there is no public discussion as such.
- It is impossible to meet the requirements for the preparation of the EIA report and post-project monitoring, including field research, due to mined territories, their temporary occupation or hostilities taking place on them; also there is a lack of specialists. Logically, the requirements for the implementation of these EIA stages should be simplified.
- Restrictions on public participation in the EIA procedure (lack of access to the EIA Register and public discussions) are currently not regulated by law and may lead to potential public lawsuits to overturn EIA findings obtained by enterprises during and after martial law.
Given that businesses urgently need to re-plan their activities, relocate businesses to safer regions of Ukraine, as well as the deregulated and simplified conditions for doing business in Ukraine, the European Business Association asks the Parliament to resolve the situation with the EIA procedure and develop appropriate amendments to the legislation.
Business is aware of the challenging situation caused by the war, but bureaucratic procedures should be minimized so that large, budget-generating enterprises can continue to operate, provide jobs for our citizens, and pay taxes to state and local budgets.