Business met with the Head of the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine
Today, August 11, the European Business Association held an online meeting with Andrii Malovanyi, Head of the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine. During the hour-long conversation, we were able to consider a number of important business issues related to the reform of the environmental control system and relevant legislative initiatives.
Thus, Mr. Malovanyi sees the modernization of the environmental control system in tripartite open communication between the state, business, and society. He stressed that the task of the State Environmental Inspectorate institution is to increase the efficiency of the environmental control procedure, not to hinder the production activities of enterprises. At the same time, according to the EBA experts, the extended authority of inspectors of state environmental control, provided by the draft law No.3091, may lead to increased pressure on the businesses. To avoid these risks, it is planned to introduce structural reforms aimed at the digitalization of all control procedures. This includes the inspector’s electronic cabinet, automated request processing and the public access to the results and plans of inspections, and so on.
In general, the State Environmental Inspectorate together with the respective state authorities are actively considering proposals and comments from businesses to finalize the draft law No.3091. The European Business Association has already stressed the importance of 10 key aspects of reforming environmental control. It is expected that the updated text of the draft law No.3091, which includes the comments of all stakeholders, will be presented in October this year. At the same time, the Head of the Inspectorate claimed that the reforms of the environmental control system are developed based on European practices in this area, for example, the involvement of NGOs in discussing cases of environmental violations by enterprises.
Currently, the state authorities are prohibited from conducting the scheduled control measures during the quarantine, however, after its completion, inspections will take place in the prescribed manner. Thus, scheduled inspections of enterprises are carried out according to the risk-oriented approach. In general, there are three groups of environmental risks. For high-risk companies, the scheduled inspection is conducted every 2 years, for medium-risk – once every 3 years, for low-risk – once every 5 years. The risk group is determined for a company by the scoring system. The scoring procedure is open, and the company may, on its initiative, request the State Environmental Inspectorate to review its risk status by arranging an unscheduled inspection.
The business had many questions regarding the personnel policy of the State Environmental Inspectorate and professional requirements for inspectors. Particularly, business representatives are concerned that state inspectors are not sufficiently qualified to carry out inspections in port areas. In response, Mr. Malovanyi confirmed that there is indeed a shortage of competent staff, but the State Environmental Inspectorate is ready to recruit new specialists and provide appropriate professional training. In his opinion, the state eco-inspector should have a thorough knowledge of the legal and regulatory framework in various areas related to the environment, including maritime and river law. Also, the inspectors should know a foreign language and the basics of international law to work in port areas with vessels of foreign jurisdictions.
With the elimination of two maritime environmental inspections, the presence of environmental control representatives in ports has decreased. However, there are still concerns regarding the restoration of unimpeded access for inspectors to enter port areas to control water pollution. The representatives of the port industry have repeatedly raised the problems of State Environmental Inspectorate in ports, including illegal inspections of ships. Given the long-standing situation of unwarranted Inspectorate’s interference in ports, numerous business lawsuits for unjustified foreclosures, the business community hopes to be heard and that inspectors will not be given additional authority in port areas.
There was also a discussion of duplicated functions of controlling authorities. According to Mr. Malovanyi, the respective authorities are currently negotiating the delineation of powers and state control processes to eliminate the risk of double inspections, which are burdensome for business.
During the meeting, we also discussed the possibility to expand the functions of the State Environmental Inspectorate, namely in monitoring and waste management. Mr. Malovanyi explained that the State Environmental Inspectorate does not have such responsibilities, but the authority works closely with local monitoring entities and improves technologies of environmental assessment. The authority is also involved in the development of preventive measures and legislative initiatives for waste recycling.
On behalf of the European Business Association, we would like to thank Mr. Malovanyi for his willingness to participate in an open dialogue and expert discussion! We hope that the reform of the state environmental control system will contribute to a more balanced interaction between business and the state in matters concerning ecology and environmental protection.
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