Granting law enforcement status to inspectors does not contribute to reforming the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine

11/ 01/ 2021
  On December 3, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada registered the draft law №4459 “On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine to Establish Liability for Resisting and Interfering in the Activities of the State Inspector for Environmental Protection of Ukraine, Employee of the State Protection Service of the Nature Reserve Fund of Ukraine during the performance of their official duties . The changes proposed in the document stipulate that inspectors of the State Environmental Inspectorate will, in fact, be equated with law enforcement officers in terms of the degree of protection, including protection against interference in their activities. However, there are no arguments to confirm the positive impact of such a measure on the protection and improvement of the environment, human life, and health, ensuring environmental safety, etc. At the same time, the draft law does not clearly define what actions can be qualified as resistance or interference with the inspectors’ work. Therefore, companies are concerned that, in fact, any action by the business may be considered by the eco-inspection as interference in their activities without sufficient grounds. For example, the support of inspectors during the state environmental control measure by the companys representatives, which allows monitoring the legality of inspectors actions, correct installation of measuring instruments, measurements, sampling, and compliance of such actions with guidelines and regulations may be qualified as such. Thus, at present, there are many cases of scheduled and unscheduled inspections in violation of current legislation, when the measures taken by inspectors may go beyond the main subject of the inspection. Thus, in the opinion of the business, the draft law, if adopted, could potentially distort the balance between the powers of government officials and the rights of business representatives. This, according to EBA experts poses a threat of pressure during the implementation of state environmental control measures and a field for abuse of authority. At the same time, business emphasizes that the strengthening of responsibility should be bilateral and accompanied by strengthened responsibility for controlling officers who do not comply with current legislation. Therefore, the procedure for providing inspectors with access to the company’s premises, including the rights, duties, and responsibilities of all parties, in this case, should be comprehensively considered in the reform of state environmental control, currently proposed by the draft Law №3091On State Environmental Control. The European Business Association has already submitted its proposals and comments on this draft law and is ready to further contribute to the implementation of the reform. Therefore, the business community appeals to the Verkhovna Rada to reject the draft law №4459 and focus on comprehensive changes to state environmental control. After all, selective changes are unlikely to bring the expected systemic effect and the establishment of equal rules of the game in the country.   

On December 3, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada registered the draft law №4459 “On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine to Establish Liability for Resisting and Interfering in the Activities of the State Inspector for Environmental Protection of Ukraine, Employee of the State Protection Service of the Nature Reserve Fund of Ukraine during the performance of their official duties “.

The changes proposed in the document stipulate that inspectors of the State Environmental Inspectorate will, in fact, be equated with law enforcement officers in terms of the degree of protection, including protection against interference in their activities. However, there are no arguments to confirm the positive impact of such a measure on the protection and improvement of the environment, human life, and health, ensuring environmental safety, etc.

At the same time, the draft law does not clearly define what actions can be qualified as resistance or interference with the inspectors’ work. Therefore, companies are concerned that, in fact, any action by the business may be considered by the eco-inspection as interference in their activities without sufficient grounds. For example, the support of inspectors during the state environmental control measure by the company’s representatives, which allows monitoring the legality of inspectors’ actions, correct installation of measuring instruments, measurements, sampling, and compliance of such actions with guidelines and regulations may be qualified as such. Thus, at present, there are many cases of scheduled and unscheduled inspections in violation of current legislation, when the measures taken by inspectors may go beyond the main subject of the inspection.

Thus, in the opinion of the business, the draft law, if adopted, could potentially distort the balance between the powers of government officials and the rights of business representatives. This, according to EBA experts poses a threat of pressure during the implementation of state environmental control measures and a field for abuse of authority.

At the same time, business emphasizes that the strengthening of responsibility should be bilateral and accompanied by strengthened responsibility for controlling officers who do not comply with current legislation. Therefore, the procedure for providing inspectors with access to the company’s premises, including the rights, duties, and responsibilities of all parties, in this case, should be comprehensively considered in the reform of state environmental control, currently proposed by the draft Law №3091″On State Environmental Control”.

The European Business Association has already submitted its proposals and comments on this draft law and is ready to further contribute to the implementation of the reform.

Therefore, the business community appeals to the Verkhovna Rada to reject the draft law №4459 and focus on comprehensive changes to state environmental control. After all, selective changes are unlikely to bring the expected systemic effect and the establishment of equal rules of the game in the country.

  

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