The purpose of today’s article is to assist all owners of businesses requiring compliance with the environmental protection regulations and provide accurate data on the environmental permit application and awarding process. Below, I shall present everything you need to know about environmental authorisations, so that you can save the time you need to gather the necessary information,
What is an environmental authorisation?
An environmental authorisation is an administrative deed establishing the operational conditions and parameters applying to businesses which may significantly impact the environment. An environmental authorisation is issued to include special requirements of the business owner, the incompliance with which may result in the suspension of the authorisation (during which time carrying out the activity is forbidden). Environmental authorisations are applied for and awarded for both current business activities, and to start new ones.
What is the purpose of environmental authorisations?
Unless controlled, the operation of businesses may harm the environment or human health. Therefore, environmental authorisations are key to mitigating the negative impact of economic activities and they set out to facilitate compliance with the environmental requirements by ongoing monitoring carried out by relevant authorities. Their aim is to protect the environment by setting up the operational framework and legal requirements.
When is it mandatory for businesses to have environmental authorisations awarded?
A business’s obligation to have an environmental authorisation is directly related to the NACE codes registered with the Trade Register Office. Therefore, it is very important for the economic activities performed to be accurately classified. Also, to this end, as far as places of business are concerned, I recommend registering solely those activities you actually carry out, instead of registering also activities you intend to carry out in the future.
Since not all business owners are bound to apply for environmental authorisations, it is important that you check whether your activities – i.e. he NACE codes registered with the Trade Register Office – are included in Annex 1 to Order 1798/2007 of the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development. Please make sure you carefully carry out such verification, because the NACE codes in the annex are those included in the Rev. 1 release, not the ones currently applicable (Rev.2). For instance, the corresponding version of NACE 5610 “Restaurants and mobile food service activities” (Rev.2) is NACE 5530 “Camping grounds, recreational vehicle parks and trailer parks” (Rev.1). Thus, upon carrying out the verification, refer to NACE 5530.
Three scenarios result from such a verification:
– activities performed are included in Annex 1 to Order 1798/2007 of the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the aspects shown in the Comments section are met, in which case you are bound to file for an environmental authorisation;
– activities performed are included in Annex 1 to Order 1798/2007 of the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, however, without meeting the aspects shown in the Comments section, in which case you are not bound to file for an environmental authorisation, instead operate your business based on an affidavit under which you take it upon yourself to meet the applicable environment protection laws;
– activities performed are not included in Annex 1 to Order 1798/2007 of the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, in which case you are not bound to file for an environmental authorisation, instead operate your business based on an affidavit under which you take it upon yourself to meet the applicable environment protection laws;
How is one awarded an environmental authorisation and what documents do they need for this purpose?
Launch of the environmental authorisation awarding process is by filing the application file with the governing Environmental Protection Agency in the county where the place of business operates. The file will include the following documents on a minimum basis: application, registration certificate, confirmation of company details, area layout plan, site development plan, technical documentation (presentation sheet and statement), property deed/title, proof of payment of the authorisation fee, advertisement. Based on how complex the activity is and the site conditions, other documents may be required, such as: utility-service provision contracts, contract for the collection of waste generated by the business operations, further licences and permits (wastewater take over agreement, ISU* approval, water management authorisation, etc.).
The submittal of the file is followed by a visit on location by the EPA* counsellor, for the latter to check the activity performance conditions, the equipment, the adjoining areas, etc. (which should be the same as shown in the filed documentation).
In the case of new activities, whenthe aforementioned stages have been completed, the EPA publishes the licence awarding decision, by posting it at its premises and uploading it on the webpage. Unless challenged, the licence is then issued within 90 business days as of the submittal of the full documentation.
In the case of already operated activities, the procedure may be slightly different, as there is the possibility for the EPA to carry out an Environmental Audit (i.e. an assessment study of the environmental impact, which can be drawn up solely by Ministry of the Environment licenced individuals or legal entities, such as myself).
What to do once the environmental authorisation is awarded?
Do not delude yourself into believing that once the environmental authorisation is awarded you have no more obligations to meet. You still need to operate your business in compliance with the authorisation provisions, for which reason I recommend that you read it carefully and find out what further monitoring you need to complete (e.g. water/air/ground quality) and how often you need to do so, the management operations you need to carry out (e.g. waste management, hazardous substances and mixtures management, packaging management, etc.), as well as the kind of reporting you need to do. May I remind you that failure to meet the authorisation provisions may lead to your authorisation being suspended (during which time you are not allowed to operate your business).
Beware also the occurring activity changes once the environmental authorisation has been issued, as you are bound to notify the relevant authority prior to operating such changes. Reviewing the environmental authorisation is necessary when changes in the scope of activity or changes of data underlying its issuance occur.
What are the legally provided sanctions?
Failure of legal entities to meet the obligation to apply for and acquire regulatory deeds pursuant to legal provisions within the set timelines is fined by charging a RON 30,000 to 60,000 penalty.
My expertise in the field of environmental regulations allows me to help facilitate the awarding of the environmental authorisation, by making all the steps and taking all endeavours required to this end, which implies no effort on your part.
*ISU: The Inspectorate for Emergency Situations
* EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency
For consultancy and services in the field, do not hesitate to contact me!
Phone number: 0745.195.744, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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You too can take advantage of my expertise to have your environmental authorisation awarded and meet all obligations set out in the authorisation: hazardous/non-hazardous waste management, management of packaging waste released to the domestic market, hazardous substances management, monitoring of environmental factors, quarterly and/or annual reporting. Feel free to check out my full list of services on www.georgianavoinea.ro