On 23 May 2017 the Parliament of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Environmental Impact Assessment" No. 2059-VIII (the "EIA Law") which became effective since 18 December 2017. The EIA Law implements Directive 2011/92/ EU "On the Assessment of the Effects of Certain Public and Private Projects on the Environment".
The EIA Law replaced the Law of Ukraine "On Ecological Expertise" No. 45/95-ВР dated 9 February 1995 (the "Ecological Expertise Law") that envisaged performance of "state ecological expertise", which included the environmental impact assessment (the "EIA") and a state expert review.
The EIA Law envisages that a company should follow the new EIA procedure if it is involved into a planned activity, meaning an activity that includes construction, reconstruction, re-engineering, liquidation (disassembly) of objects, and other interference in the natural environment. The law lists a wide range of business activity types, which fall under regulation of the new law.
The new EIA procedure envisages the following steps: (a) preparation of the EIA report by the company; (b) public discussion of the project; (c) assessment of EIA report and results of the public discussion by the state agency (relevant subdivisions on ecology and natural resources of the local state administrations); (d) issuance by the state agency of the EIA conclusion (the "EIA Conclusion"); and (e) consideration of the EIA Conclusion before a company gets a permit for the planned activity.
Importantly, the companies that have obtained the conclusion on state ecological expertise foreseen by the Ecological Expertise Law before entry into effect of the EIA Law are exempted from the new EIA procedure. Although if it is necessary to introduce changes to the project design documentation, which have been confirmed by the conclusion on state ecological expertise, the company should apply for obtaining the EIA Conclusion under the new procedure.
The failure to comply with the EIA Law may result in a temporary prohibition (suspension) or termination of business activity.
Noteworthy, on 13 December 2017 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the following secondary legislation required for implementation of the EIA Law:
- Regulation "On Criteria for Determining Planned Activity, its Expansion and Change which are not Subject to the EIA" No. 1010;
- Regulation "On Procedure for Conducting Public Discussion while Preparing the EIA" No. 989;
- Regulation "On Procedure for the Transfer of Documentation to Provide the EIA Conclusion and the EIA Funding and on Procedure for Maintaining the Unified Register on the EIA" No. 1026.