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Methodological guidelines on environmental impact assessment need to be revised

26/ 02/ 2021
  In December 2020, the draft Methodological guidelines on the content and procedure for compiling a report on environmental impact assessment” (draft methodological guidelines on EIA) was published for public discussion on the website of the Ministry of Environment. This document aims to address the lack of common standards for the structure and content of the EIA report, which leads to ambiguous understanding by companies and the delegated authority of what data should be included there. Due to this, there are delays in the process of obtaining an EIA conclusion, which significantly affects the timing of investment projects. The EBA member companies support the desire of the Ministry of Environment to standardize the requirements for the preparation of the EIA report and thank the Ministry’s representatives for the openness to dialogue and consideration of previous proposals of the business. Meanwhile, the business community considers that the main goal of developing any scientific and methodological materials is to simplify processes and provide stakeholders with equal access to them. Therefore, companies ask for amendments to 4 key aspects of the draft EIA guidelines, the version of which was provided to the business: Ensuring that only the size of the zone should be indicated when providing information on sanitary protection zones (SPZ). Obtaining more detailed data is not explicitly envisaged in the current legislation on EIA, and it will lead to over-regulation and delay in the process of EIA procedure. Providing the possibility to obtain a permit, namely the state sanitary-epidemiological examination conclusion on the determination or adjustment of the SPZ size, in parallel or after obtaining an EIA conclusion and only if there is a necessity to adjust (reduce) SPZ. Thus, the current EIA legislation does not require obtaining any permits for the planned activities. Besides, it may require additional time (about 3-4 months) and financial (about 100-150 thousand hryvnias) resources. Therefore, we propose to assume that before the start of the planned activities, it should be possible to obtain the SPZ conclusion which can be indicated as a condition for environmental safety in the EIA conclusions. Removing the recommendation for companies to organize special studies of the current state of fauna, flora, and biodiversity in the absence of information at the local level. First, the company does not have the right to conduct any research in areas that do not belong to it or are not in use. Secondly, according to the Law of Ukraine №1264-XII On Environmental Protection, the organization of the environmental monitoring and ensuring access to environmental information are the functions entrusted to the Ministry of Environment. Eliminating the uncertainty regarding the deadlines leads to the diametrically opposite result: instead of simplifying the compiling of a report, it complicates the interpretation of the Draft EIA guidelines and worsens the quality of submitted documents. The business community consistently defends the position that the Draft EIA Guidelines should be only recommendatory, and in the future, its use or non-use in compiling an EIA report should not have a decisive influence on the decision of the permitting body regarding the implementation of the planned activity. We hope that the Ministry of Environment will hear the voice of business so that its proposals will be reflected in the updated version of the draft methodological guidelines on EIA.     Be the first to learn about the latest EBA news with our Telegram-channel – EBAUkraine.

In December 2020, the draft Methodological guidelines on the content and procedure for compiling a report on environmental impact assessment” (draft methodological guidelines on EIA) was published for public discussion on the website of the Ministry of Environment.

This document aims to address the lack of common standards for the structure and content of the EIA report, which leads to ambiguous understanding by companies and the delegated authority of what data should be included there. Due to this, there are delays in the process of obtaining an EIA conclusion, which significantly affects the timing of investment projects.

The EBA member companies support the desire of the Ministry of Environment to standardize the requirements for the preparation of the EIA report and thank the Ministry’s representatives for the openness to dialogue and consideration of previous proposals of the business.

Meanwhile, the business community considers that the main goal of developing any scientific and methodological materials is to simplify processes and provide stakeholders with equal access to them. Therefore, companies ask for amendments to 4 key aspects of the draft EIA guidelines, the version of which was provided to the business:

  • Ensuring that only the size of the zone should be indicated when providing information on sanitary protection zones (SPZ). Obtaining more detailed data is not explicitly envisaged in the current legislation on EIA, and it will lead to over-regulation and delay in the process of EIA procedure.
  • Providing the possibility to obtain a permit, namely the state sanitary-epidemiological examination conclusion on the determination or adjustment of the SPZ size, in parallel or after obtaining an EIA conclusion and only if there is a necessity to adjust (reduce) SPZ. Thus, the current EIA legislation does not require obtaining any permits for the planned activities. Besides, it may require additional time (about 3-4 months) and financial (about 100-150 thousand hryvnias) resources. Therefore, we propose to assume that before the start of the planned activities, it should be possible to obtain the SPZ conclusion which can be indicated as a condition for environmental safety in the EIA conclusions.
  • Removing the recommendation for companies to organize special studies of the current state of fauna, flora, and biodiversity in the absence of information at the local level. First, the company does not have the right to conduct any research in areas that do not belong to it or are not in use. Secondly, according to the Law of Ukraine №1264-XII “On Environmental Protection”, the organization of the environmental monitoring and ensuring access to environmental information are the functions entrusted to the Ministry of Environment.
  • Eliminating the uncertainty regarding the deadlines leads to the diametrically opposite result: instead of simplifying the compiling of a report, it complicates the interpretation of the Draft EIA guidelines and worsens the quality of submitted documents.

The business community consistently defends the position that the Draft EIA Guidelines should be only recommendatory, and in the future, its use or non-use in compiling an EIA report should not have a decisive influence on the decision of the permitting body regarding the implementation of the planned activity.

We hope that the Ministry of Environment will hear the voice of business so that its proposals will be reflected in the updated version of the draft methodological guidelines on EIA.

 

 

Be the first to learn about the latest EBA news with our Telegram-channel EBAUkraine.

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