Administrative law

Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 10th of September 2019 on investments that may have a significant impact on the environment

On October 11, 2019, a new Regulation of the Council of Ministers of September 10, 2019 on investments that may have a significant impact on the environment entered into force (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1839). Pursuant to the transitional provisions, the existing provisions will apply to investments initiated and not completed before the entry into force of the EIA Regulation.

The most important changes introduced above the regulation should include:

– Inclusion in the group of investments that may always have a significant impact on the environment, in addition to landfills for non-hazardous waste, as well as other installations for the recovery or disposal of waste meeting the quantitative criteria specified in the regulation, i.e. capable of receiving waste in an amount not less than 10t per day or with a total capacity of not less than 25,000 tonnes. As a result, an environmental impact assessment will be an obligatory element of the proceedings regarding the issue of a decision on environmental conditions for these investments.

– Exclusion of handling equipment from the group of investments recognized as likely to always have a significant impact on the environment. The proposed change, due to the lack of obligation to obtain a decision on environmental conditions, will improve the process of obtaining the necessary permits.

– Introduction to the group of investments that could potentially significantly affect the mining environment for aggregates from inland surface waters and from the sea areas of the Republic of Poland.

– The introduction of a provision in the light of which the exploration and appraisal of shale gas deposits carried out by means of boreholes with a depth of more than 1000 m will be considered as a investment that could potentially have a significant impact on the environment. Currently, this threshold, outside the intake protection zone, protection areas of inland water reservoirs and forms of nature protection, is 5000 m.

– Exclusion of power stations from the group of investments requiring a decision on environmental conditions by not including them in § 2 para. 1 point 6 and § 3 para. 1 point 7 of the Regulation. As a result, during the investment process aimed at both the construction and reconstruction or extension of these facilities, there will be no need to obtain a decision on environmental conditions.

– Introduction of regulation allowing the qualification of undertakings consisting in the second and subsequent subliminal modifications, which separately do not qualify for the so-called first groups of investments, but after adding them, they will reach the thresholds indicated in the EIA Regulation.

– Clarification of the definition of built-up area by indicating that the balance of space outside the transformed area should also take into account the temporary transformation of the land made in order to implement the investment. The expected effect of the recommended change is to eliminate interpretation doubts and ensure uniform application of the law.

– Modification of the usable area definition by deleting the word „vertical projection” and introducing the term „horizontal projection”.

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