In the second half of April, a draft law amending the act on sharing information about the environment and its protection, public participation in environmental protection and environmental impact assessments (the so called: EIA Act) and some other acts was submitted for public consultation. The purpose of the proposed changes is primarily to facilitate administrative procedures and proceedings, both on the part of investors and entities preparing documents subject to strategic environmental impact assessment.
Among the most important proposed changes in the amended Act mentioned should be inter alia:
- liquidation of the decision on no obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment. If it is found that there is no obligation to conduct an environmental impact assessment, instead of issuing a decision, the authority will terminate the proceedings by issuing an environmental decision;
- giving the voits, mayors and city presidents the competence to decide on the matters of "other undertakings" for which the applicant is a local government unit for which the executive body is the authority competent to issue a decision on environmental conditions or its dependent entity;
- when applying for an extension of the validity of an environmental decision, it will not be required to prove that the project is progressing in stages. In addition, the bill assumes that the application in this case may be submitted not earlier than after 5 years from the date on which the decision became final;
- in the case of proceedings for issuing a decision on environmental conditions or other proceedings regarding this decision, the draft provides for the mode of service by notification (regulated in Article 49 of the Administrative Procedure Code) if the number of parties to the proceedings exceeds 10;
- the definition of the area affected by the project will be changed, introducing into the EIA act the distance criterion from the boundaries of the area on which the project will be implemented. As a result, it was proposed that the area, on which the project will be affected, was determined according to the fixed distance criterion of 100 m adopted in this project and according to the criterion determined individually based on the nature of the planned project's impact. This will lead to radical changes in establishing the circle of parties to the proceedings;
- the project provides solutions to avoid long-term procedures related to determining the addresses of parties to the proceedings. For this purpose, the introduction of a presumption of the veracity of registration data in the land registers, constituting the basis for establishing the parties to the proceedings, was designed. In the situation of unsettled legal status of real estate or other problems related to establishing the circle of parties (no addresses, change of ownership during the proceedings, lack of heirs), it will not be an obstacle to conducting proceedings, and Article 49 of the Administrative Procedure Code will apply to deliveries and notices.