IN In May, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the draft law as a basis No. 6004-d “On ensuring the constitutional rights of citizens to an environment safe for life and health”. It provides for the introduction of a mechanism of integrated prevention of industrial pollution.
After its adoption in the second reading, the law will be a significant step for Ukraine in fulfilling the terms of the Green Deal, the Association Agreement with the EU and guaranteeing that the post-war economic growth will not be accompanied by a significant increase in emissions of harmful substances and greenhouse gases.
As part of supporting industrial pollution reform in Ukraine since 2019, the “Best Available Technologies and Management Methods (BTM) for Ukraine” project, implemented by GIZ on behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection of Germany, has translated ten reference documents of NDTM, takes an active part in the preparation of legislation and develops an IT system for issuing an integrated environmental permit online in accordance with the architecture of the state system of DIA.
In addition, within the framework of the NDTM project, a grant program is implemented to support the modernization of Ukrainian business in accordance with the NDTM. This is a non-refundable financial aid in the amount of up to 2 million euros for each of several enterprises whose modernization projects have undergone competitive selection in accordance with the proposed technologies and potential reduction of industrial pollution.
The grant program provided for the involvement of the credit resources of Ukrainian banks in the amount of up to 10 million euros for the co-financing of projects.
The post-war recovery of Ukraine poses an important question to us as to whether Ukraine will retain the status of an industrial state. Our answer is unequivocal – industry has been and will remain the driver of Ukraine’s economy, because it is a guarantee of the development of the defense-industrial complex, and therefore of our defense capability, independence and economic stability.
At the same time, the development of Ukraine’s industrial sector will finally be synchronized with EU standards and regulations in accordance with Directive 2010/75/EU on reducing industrial pollution, which will save the lives and health of tens of thousands of Ukrainians suffering from the effects of pollution.
Also, the implementation of the norms of Directive 2010/75/EU will reduce the energy intensity of products and increase labor safety. This will allow us to remain competitive in the EU manufactured goods market – our main market in 2022 – and save millions of euros in customs duties paid in connection with the application of the CBAM instrument.
For this, deputies of the Environmental Committee of the Verkhovna Rada with the support of the Ministry of Environment and German, Ukrainian and Czech experts within project “The best available technologies and management methods (BTM)” implemented by GIZ, developed draft law No. 6004-d “On ensuring the constitutional rights of citizens to an environment safe for life and health”, which, together with subordinate legislation, implements the main part of the provisions of the 2010 Directive /75/EU into Ukrainian legislation.
As a result of extensive work with all participants in the process, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the draft law in the first reading, which for the first time since independence will bring the industry development standards closer to European standards and preserve the strategic sphere of economic development.
The correctness of the course towards clean production, as well as the consistency of the implementation of the reform, is confirmed by the recognition of Ukraine in the professional community of the EU. This is evidenced by the fact that on June 6, 2023, Ukraine became an observer of the international Expert Group on the exchange of information on the best available technologies and management methods related to industrial emissions, in accordance with Article 13 of the Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions, which is the final step on the way to the approval of the NDTM conclusions by the European Commission.
This gives Ukrainian industrialists access to understanding the decision-making process in the field of progressive technical developments and “green” technologies for planning their own development, and gives government officials the opportunity to study this process and be ready for work after Ukraine’s accession to the EU.
What is the industrial pollution reform about?
Bill 6004-d introduces 3 main things:
- projected and unified EU rules for regulating industrial pollution (consolidated in the conclusions of the NDTM — conclusions of the best available technologies and management methods), which take at least 12 years to achieve compliance. This means large-scale modernization of Ukrainian industry in accordance with European standards;
- reduction of bureaucratic pressure: one modern integrated environmental permit instead of several – for waste management, special water use, emissions into atmospheric air;
- an electronic transparent permit procedure that ensures the functioning of an integrated environmental permit, access to information and opportunities for the participation of all interested parties and provides comprehensive information on industrial emissions.
Draft Law 6004-d gives the industry the opportunity to switch to new technologies for at least 12 years: a year for the law to come into force, 4 years to apply the conclusions of the NDTM (but not earlier than 4 years after the end of martial law) and obtaining a concession of up to 7 years in case impossibility of timely modernization.
The introduction of an integrated environmental permit makes it possible to comprehensively prevent industrial pollution, because it is issued individually for each industrial installation.
An integrated environmental permit will contribute to the modernization of business, because it will contain information on maximum permissible emissions in accordance with the best available technologies and management methods (BTM), which are uniform for the entire EU.
It is important that the conclusions of NDTM do not contain requirements to install specific equipment, but only describe technologies that are the most financially beneficial to implement and at the same time have the least impact on the environment, and determine the so-called pollutant emission range for different types of industrial plants and production processes.
The European norms of NDTM have shown their effectiveness in the EU countries, they contribute to the consistent planning of business activities and will help Ukraine to develop a competitive industry and, on its basis, the relevant sectors of the economy.
What will the procedure for issuing an integrated environmental permit look like?
The Ministry of Environment is implementing the principle of digitizing the “paperless” permit system, which minimizes contacts with officials and the number of paper documents. This also has an anti-corruption effect, because the procedure for obtaining permits becomes public and does not depend on the subjectivity of individual civil servants.
For this purpose, the Ministry created “EcoSystem” – a single nationwide platform for the interaction of the state, the public and business in the field of environmental protection, where more than 9 permit procedures have been digitalized to date.
This also applies to the procedure for issuing an integrated environmental permit, which we plan to implement as part of the industrial pollution reform and which is depicted in the diagram.
Without taking into account the period of preliminary consideration of the application, the procedure for issuing an integrated environmental permit will last up to 65 days, which is a fairly quick period (up to 185 in the Czech Republic). It starts with the fact that the operator of the industrial installation submits an application to the permitting authority, which is filled out online and is uniform for all enterprises.
In the process of filling out the application, the operator has the opportunity, if necessary, to get advice from the licensing authority. The operator is also given time to eliminate all inconsistencies and shortcomings of the application before its public discussion and review by competent authorities.
After that, the process of public discussion takes place in parallel as part of the procedure for issuing an integrated environmental permit and consultations with the competent authorities, which within 35 days from the start of the public discussion must submit their conclusions and proposals to the conditions of the integrated environmental permit.
Competent are the bodies that today administer the sphere of waste management and water management, atmospheric air protection and emergency situations, energy saving and health protection, as well as the state ecological inspection.
The terms of the public discussion and consultations with the competent authorities are defined in such a way that the competent authorities also have the opportunity to take into account the results of the public discussion in their conclusions.
In order to agree on positions, the licensing authority has the right to convene a meeting. The facility operator also has the right to initiate a coordination meeting.
The conciliation meeting is held during the period allotted to the permitting authority for issuing an integrated environmental permit, does not slow down the procedure and does not increase its duration. The integrated environmental permit or the decision of the permitting authority to refuse to issue an integrated environmental permit immediately becomes available online.
The EU continues to fight against industrial pollution
The requirement to implement European NDTM for industry during the issuance of permit documents in the European Union has been applied since 1996 in accordance with Directive 96/61/EC on integrated prevention and control of industrial pollution.
The EU has proven that economic development and reduction of industrial pollution can go hand in hand. Directive 2010/75/EU, which is based on NDTM, provides a high level of protection of human health and the environment and has shown its high effectiveness in practice.
Since 2004, European enterprises have reduced emissions of sulfur dioxide by 77%, nitrogen oxide by 49% and dust by 81%. They have also significantly improved energy efficiency.
This is the effect we want to achieve in Ukraine – the post-war recovery of industry and economy without increasing emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.
The economic rationale for fighting pollution is clear, and the benefits to society far outweigh the costs. Likewise, the costs associated with inaction far outweigh the cost of reducing industrial pollution.
For example, air pollution costs the EU health sector between 330 and 940 billion euros per year, while all measures to improve air quality in the EU are estimated to have a combined cost of between 70 and 80 billion euros per year. There are no such calculations in Ukraine yet.
On May 12, 2021, the European Commission adopted action plan: “Towards zero air, water and soil pollution”- Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil – a key document for the implementation of the Green Course.
The new rules aim to limit air pollution by dust (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxide to 10 µg/m3 and 20 µg/m3 respectively, which will reduce premature deaths from air pollution by at least 55% and by 2030 could potentially save over 150,000 lives.
At the end of 2019, Ukraine joined the implementation of the goals of the Green Course, and the implementation of the reform of industrial pollution will be perhaps the most important step in this area, as well as a necessary part of the implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU.
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