A new legal framework setting out the rules on Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Licensing Procedures (“Environmental Licensing Regulations”) was approved by means of Presidential Decree No. 117/20, of 22 April 2020.
The Environmental Licensing Regulations contain new rules on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), aiming at regulating the environmental and administrative procedures in connection with the implementation of public and private projects. The carrying-out of activities which may have effects on the environment is subject to authorization, which is conditional upon the requirements defined in the Regulations being met. The Environmental Licensing Regulations also set out the rules on the Environmental Licensing Procedures applicable to the activities that, by reason of their nature, location or scale, may have a significant environmental and social impact. The procedures to be followed for licensing purposes and the rights and obligations of the license holders are specifically governed. The appendices to the Environmental Licensing Regulations specify the activities subject to EIA, the different types of licensing procedures, and the templates of the environmental licenses.
- The creation of an “Integrated Environmental System” – an online technological platform for the submission of environmental licensing applications and relevant documents;
- The conditions for the issuance of environmental licenses and Declaration of Environmental Licensing Exemption by the local authorities;
- The general requirement to undertake an environmental pre-assessment of the activities that may have an environmental impact, whether or not the activities in question are expressly listed in the annexes to the regulations;
- The reference to the subsequent approval by the Environmental Authority of Terms of Reference for the carrying-out of EIA;
- The institution of the so-called Declaration of Environmental Good Standing, aimed at enabling the negotiation of credit facilities with banks and other entities;
- The institution of a Decommissioning Environmental License;
- The validity of the Operating Environmental Licenses is 5 years (this period is renewable);
- The conveyance of the facilities the subject of the Environmental License is subject to a prior notice being served to the Environmental Authority;
- Express provisions on civil and criminal liability for failure to comply with the Environmental Licensing Regulations;
- Fines for failure to comply with the Environmental Licensing Regulations, in an amount of up to AOA 500,000,000;
- The inclusion of a list of “fatal issues”, i.e. areas in which no activity potentially causing significant negative impacts may be authorized.
The new Environmental Licensing Regulations revoke Decree No. 51/04, of 23 July 2004, and Decree No. 59/07, of 13 July 2007, and entered into force on 22 April 2020.
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