This year, IMPEL carried out two review initiatives: one in Turkey and one in Austria. The so called IRI is a voluntary peer review where environmental authorities of IMPEL member countries help each other to improve the implementation of EU environmental law.
Review of the Turkish approach to the implementation and enforcement of environmental law
The Turkey IRI took place in Ankara on 5-8 April 2016 and was hosted by the Directorate General of EIA, Permitting and Inspection in the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation.
Although Turkey is not an EU Member State, it implements most part of the EU environmental acquis communautaire. As agreed at the pre-meeting, the IRI focussed on permitting, planning and execution of inspections, reporting, performance monitoring and Seveso. There was also a site visit to a soda ash plant.
Overall, the IRI Team (consisting of representatives from Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom) felt that Turkey had an impressive framework for environmental regulation. One area which Turkey was suggested to look at is communication with the public as that might help to reduce complaints. The permitting process is good and they make good use of online permits: they have a Temporary Operating Consent which helps increase the number of permitted facilities in Turkey. It was seen as good practice that inspectors were able to draft inspection reports on site through use of the E-inspection system and inspection frequencies were guided by the use of risk assessments. Working more closely with other public law enforcement bodies could help enhance the risk profile of operators.
Review of the Province and district authorities of Styria – Austria
This review, which took place between 14 and 17 June 2016, covered a range of directives including the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and where relevant any other industrial processes that are part of the Recommendation 2001/331/EC providing for minimum criteria for environmental inspections in the Member States (RMCEI).
The IRI team, consisting of 8 different IMPEL member countries, admired the thorough preparation of the IRI by the colleagues of Styria and their open communication with the team. Although a number of opportunities for developments have been identified, the IRI team agreed that all ingredients are in place to be able to comply to the RMCEI and the IED (art 23). Further streamlining of procedures, tasks and legislation would only be needed for a very successful implementation.
Many examples of good practices were identified, such as a 24/7 alerting unit, a one stop shop for permitting, a well equipped monitoring unit and laboratory, the administrative burden for the operator is minimised because of intensive preparation and coordinated inspection and so on, an advanced training programme for experts, common environmental platform (SharePoint) for Inspectors, experts, monitoring units and competent authority.
Opportunities for development
The team also recommended the following areas as most important opportunities for development:
- To enhance the role of the Province regarding environmental inspections;
- To change the steps and procedures for planning of inspections;
- To develop handbooks, guidance and training plan for the coordinators (inspectors);
- To strengthen the role of the coordinator (inspector) regarding the environmental inspections. Let them act more as an inspector than as a coordinator.
The preliminary findings were presented to the representative of the Regional Minister and directors of Styria on the 16th of June.
Final reports for both IRI’s will be finalised and approved later this year.