EIA means a preventive measure of environmental protection, based on the elaboration of a Study, public consultation and participation and analyses of alternative measures, with the aim of collecting data, of foreseeing the harmful effects of certain projects on the environment and human health, and of determining and proposing measures in order to prevent, reduce or eliminate such harmful effects, having in mind the feasibility of these projects ;
The subjects of the impact assessment are planned projects and projects being implemented, changes in technology, reconstruction, the extension of capacity, the termination of operations, and the removal of projects that may have significant impact on the environment. The subjects of the impact assessment are also the projects that have been realized without the elaboration of the EIA Study and which do not have a construction or utilization permit.
”A developer may not commence the project implementation without having previously completed the impact assessment procedure and obtained the approval of the EIA Study from the competent authority.” (Article 5, Environmental Protection Law, Official Gazette RS, No. 135/04, 36/09, 36/09 – other law, 72/09 – other law, 43/11 (CC), 14/16, 76/18, 95/18 – other law)
Environmental Impact Assessment is one of the proactive mechanisms for environmental action and enables: identification and assessment of future environmental impacts of the project, identification of potential improvements for the environment and identification of measures needed to prevent, reduce and mitigate adverse impacts. Also, with the public participation and consultation, procedure can help resolve the wider environmental problems and achieving wider policy objectives in the field of environment. Within the EU, the impact assessment procedure is regulated by the EIA Directive (85/337/EC) of 1985, which was audited in 1997, 2003 and 2009.
In the legal system of the Republic of Serbia, the procedure for environmental impact assessment is regulated by the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, numbers: 135/04 and 36/09), as well as by-laws regulating in more detail specific issues under the environmental impact assessment procedure are:
1) Regulation on Determining the List of Projects for Which the Impact Assessments Is Obligatory (List I) And List of Projects for Which the Environmental Impact Assessment Can Be Required (List II) (“Official Gazette of the RS” No. 114/08);
2) Rulebook on Contents of The Request on The Need for Environmental Impact Assessment and Contents of the Request for Defining the Scope and Content of Environmental Impact Assessment Study (“Official Gazette of the RS” No. 69/05);
3) Rulebook on Public Insight, Presentation and Public Discussion About the Environmental Impact Assessment Study (“Official Gazette of the RS” No. 69/2005)
4) Rulebook on Work of Technical Committee for Environmental Impact Assessment Study (“Official Gazette of the RS” No. 69/05);
5) Rulebook on the Content of the Environmental Impact Assessment Study (“Official Gazette of the RS” No. 69/05);
6) Rulebook on the Content, Appearance and Manner of Keeping a Public Ledger on the Procedures Carried Out and the
Decisions Taken on the Environmental Impact Assessment (“Official Gazette of the RS”, No. 69/05).
One of the most important elements in the procedure is the involvement of the public and obligation to form a technical committee.
The subject of impact assessment are projects that are planned and implemented, technology changes, reconstructions, capacity expansion, shutdowns and removal of projects that can have a significant environmental impact.
In the EIA procedure, there are three phases (depending on which list the project is in, it goes through one, two or more phases):
I Phase- The decision on the need for an impact assessment of project (“screening”)
II Phase- The definition of the content and scope of an impact assessment (“scoping”)
III Phase- The decision on the approval for an EIA Study.
Entities involved in the environmental impact assessment procedure are: the project developer, the competent authority, those who elaborated the EIA Study, authorities and organizations concerned, the public.
In case of deviation from the documentation on the basis of which the environmental impact assessment study for which the consent was given was made, or if the implementation of the project does not start within two years from the date of receipt of the Decision on the study consent, the project developer is obliged to submit to the competent authority, prior to the submission of the application for the construction permit, as amended, a request for updating of the existing EIA study. The request for an update of an existing study shall contain the information prescribed for the request to determine the scope and content of the impact assessment study.