Recent development of the environmental
legislation in the Czech Republic
Since 1989 the Czech Republic has experienced
several stages of the environmental legislation development. The main body
of the legislation has originated at the beginning of the 1990s, particularly
in 1991 and 1992. During this stage the Czech Republic succeeded to enact
such important acts as the Act on Environment, Act on EIA, sectoral legislation.
Since that time the legislation has been amended several times (Waste Act
three times, for example). In the middle of the 1990s we were relatively
satisfied with the state of the environmental law. It covered all the aspects
of the environmental protection. At that time, however, the development
in this field slowed down significantly - until 1998.
The nowadays development is fully driven
by the needs of the approximation process. At the beginning of this stage
the Czech environmental legislation was compatible with the Community law
up to 60 %-70 % as confirmed by the screening. However, almost no environmental
directive was fully transposed. A relatively big number of directives have
not been transposed at all (packaging waste, IPPC, e.g.).
The current stage might be called as the
second most hectic period of the development of our environmental legislation
(after the first one at the beginning of the 1990s.).
Short summarisation of the newest development:
There are several areas that are considered
as the most difficult problems of approximation, particularly because of
the economic reasons:
The horizontal legislation is almost fully
compatible; the Act on EIA needs certain changes reflecting requirements
of the directives. The draft of the new EIA Act is being discussed by the
Parliament. The Act on Access to Environmental Information is fully in
compliance. The eco-labelling system is introduced. The same is for the
EMAS regulation requirements.
The new Air Protection Act is almost ready
to be submitted to the Parliament.
The draft of the framework Water Act is already
in the Parliament. The draft reflects requirements of the Water Framework
Directive. The main problem of both the current legislation and the draft
is the competition concerning competencies in water management between
Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture.
Nature conservation legislation is very well
developed. However, it needs certain changes to comply with the requirements
of the Natura 2000.
The new Waste Act is being drafted. The current
legislation has problems concerning responsibility of waste producer, polluter
pays principle, packaging waste, dangerous waste.
The legislation on chemicals is very well
developed. It is compatible with the EC requirements. It concerns also
the legislation on GMOs.
The legislation on noise is mostly contained
in the Act on Public Health. The new legislation concerning the noise from
appliance is being drafted.
The legislation on industrial risks is only
partly well developed. The new Act concerning major accidents (Seveso)
is fully in compliance with the EC Directive. The risk assessment needs
to be developed. The IPPC is considered as one of priorities but the key
concept of the Act is still being discussed and therefore it is far from
being submitted to the Parliament. The main problem is the division of
competencies among different ministries.
Some other remarks on legislation and policy
(concerning also the "non-environmental legislation"):
waste and packaging waste,
urban waste water treatment,
water pollution by NOx from agricultural sources,
discharges of dangerous substances to water,
including the Czech Republic into the network
of NATURA 2000,
integrated prevention and pollution control
Currently the Czech Republic works on the
draft of the Environmental Code/Act on Environment. It is being drafted
by the non-governmental organization (Institute for Environmental Policy)
in co-operation with Dutch and German experts.
the environmental legislation generally is
scattered, based on sectoral approach; it needs co-ordination and unified
principles and approaches;
principles are included in the legislation
but not always applied (enforced); it concerns particularly the precautionary
principle, polluter pays principle, prevention principle and particularly
integration principle; BAT requirements occur in certain acts but they
are not being applied in practice;
civil liability for environmental damage is
relatively well developed; liability for past environmental damages needs
administrative liability is based on fines;
it has a form of the strict liability; there is the need to provide for
criminal liability needs substantial changes
– environmental crimes are too general;
the efficiency of economic instruments is
low; the ecological tax is missing;
voluntary instruments (covenants, e.g.) are
being used very rarely;
system of administrative courts has to be
changed to comply with the requirements of the Aarhus Convention;
there is also the need to improve the legislation
on public participation;
the system of environmental enforcement is
not sufficiently efficient.
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