Felling of trees and shrubs on subsoil users’ sites does not require a separate EIA Conclusion
This is confirmed by an official letter of explanation to the EBA from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine. The explanation states that the basis for citizens and legal entities to apply to a permanent forest user or forest owner for cutting down trees and shrubs is, in particular, the availability of an environmental impact assessment report, which determines the admissibility of the planned activity in accordance with the requirements of the EIA Law.
Earlier, the EBA Subsoil Use Committee filed an official request to the Ministry of Ecology to provide clarification on the need to undergo an environmental impact assessment procedure for cutting down trees and shrubs before obtaining forestry land plots for use by establishing a land easement for the extraction of all types of minerals.
This necessity arose because, according to the EBA member companies, there are frequent cases of refusal of forestry representatives to cut down trees and shrubs for access to minerals on the basis of the EIA Conclusion issued to the subsoil user, which determines the admissibility of the planned activity, the possible impact of which was assessed in the environmental impact assessment report (cutting down trees and shrubs for access to minerals within the subsoil plots provided for use). According to representatives of forestry enterprises, the latter are obliged to obtain a separate EIA Conclusion for these purposes, which leads to restrictions on the activities of subsoil users.
Part four of Article 3 of the EIA Law prohibits the commencement of planned activities without an environmental impact assessment and a decision on the implementation of the planned activity. Thus, the commencement of a planned activity to cut down trees and shrubs for the purpose of mining by default requires that the business entity has an environmental impact assessment conclusion and is impossible in its absence, including on forestry lands.
When carrying out an environmental impact assessment, a subsoil user is obliged to comprehensively assess the possible impact of the planned activity on all components of the environment, as provided for in part two of Article 6 of the EIA Law, including the impact of cutting down green and forest plantations (trees and shrubs). In such cases, no additional environmental impact assessment procedure is required for cutting down green and forest plantations before obtaining forestry land plots for use by establishing a land easement for the extraction of all types of minerals.
The European Business Association is grateful for the clarifications provided and looks forward to further constructive cooperation!