The text contains legal regulations, an overview of environmental protection tools and other information about protection and evaluation in the area of the environment in the Czech Republic.
Primary Fields of Environmental Protection
Nature and Landscape
In the Czech Republic, nature and landscape protection is divided into general site and species protection and special site and species protection. In particular, this is set out by current legislation, above all Act no. 114/1992 Coll., on Nature and Landscape Protection.
General nature and landscape protection comprises protection of landscape, species diversity, natural values and aesthetic values of nature, as well as conservation and considerate use of natural resources. The legislation defines the following areas of protection:
- general landscape protection: territorial system of ecological stability, outstanding landscape element, landscape character, nature park, and temporarily protected area.
- general species protection: All plant and animal species are protected against destruction, damage, collection and hunting. General plant and animal species and habitat protection includes the important instrument of protection of wild birds and trees growing outside forest.
- general protection of the inanimate components of nature and landscape: protection of caves, natural surface phenomena related to caves, palaeontological finds, and minerals.
Special Nature and Landscape Protection is one of the most important instruments for nature and landscape protection. The current legislation defines six categories of specially protected areas as an important instrument in site protection. They comprise 4 national parks, 26 protected landscape areas (PLA), 107 national nature reserves (NNR), nature reserves (NR), 120 national nature monuments (NNM), 815 nature reserves, and 1530 nature monuments (NM). The protection is mostly aimed at conservation or improvement of the preserved state of a site, or leaving the site or its parts to spontaneous development.
Sustainable use of natural resources
Pollution prevention in the rock and soil environment prevents the transfer of harmful substances to both food chains and aquatic environments, mainly sources of drinking water. Health risk prevention in relation to rock and soil pollution is a crucial component of Act no. 167/2008 Coll. on Environmental Damage Prevention and Remedies.
Rock Protection and Mining Regulation
Rock protection and mining regulation include assessment of risk factors (e.g., proneness to landslides and rock collapses), harmonisation of land-use plans with knowledge of the geological composition, and assessment of impacts of extraction activities on the landscape and the environment. Permitting of extraction (mining for mineral resources) belongs to the jurisdiction of the National Mining Authority.
Soil protection defines the agricultural land fund, its qualitative and quantitative conservation, the rules for exemption of land from the fund, levies for exemption of agricultural land, state administration in the area of the protection of the agricultural land fund, and vindicatory measures.
The Czech Republic ranks as the second best country in Europe in terms of wood stocks per 1 hectare and occupies the sixth place in terms of annual increment per 1 hectare. This positive situation is the result of long-term application of the principle of the permanency and equilibrium of management.
Find more on the forestry management. Or consult the Czech Environmental Inspectorate. Find out the complete list of nature and forest protection legislation.
Ambient air protection
At present, ambient air pollution is one of the most serious problems in the field of environmental protection. Polluted air has provable negative effects on human health. Pollutants can cause a wide range of health problems, from less severe conditions to serious diseases and even premature deaths. Pollutants also negatively affect vegetation. They can influence its growth and cause decreased yields of agricultural crops and forests. They also cause eutrophication and acidification of soil and water ecosystems, followed by changes in species composition and the reduction of plant and animal species diversity.
Many pollutants have the ability to accumulate in the environment, to negatively influence whole ecosystems and to enter the food chain.
Ambient air quality is evaluated strictly pursuant to the current national legislation (Act No. 201/2012 Coll., on air protection and Decree No. 330/2012 Coll., on the method of assessment and evaluation of ambient air pollution levels and on the extent of informing the public about levels of ambient air pollution and during smog situations) and pursuant to the requirements of the European Union. The evaluation is carried out with regard to the protection of human health and with regard to the protection of ecosystems and vegetation.
Other regulation relating with the Act No. 201/2012 Coll. is Decree No. 415/2012 Coll., on the permitted level of pollution and its ascertainment and on the implementation of some further provisions of the Act on the protection of air.
The universal objective of the national water management policy is to create conditions for sustainable management of the finite water resources in the Czech Republic. This implies that all forms of water resource use should be in compliance with water and aquatic ecosystem protection requirements while applying measures to reduce the harmful effects of water.
Water protection includes following issues:
- conservation of quantity and quality of surface water and groundwater
- flood prevention
- water planning at the national and international levels, including programmes of measures
- international co-operation in water protection
- economic, financial and administrative instruments in water protection.
Industrially and economically advanced countries have only developed their waste management intensively over the last 20-30 years. The first Waste Act was adopted in the Czech Republic as recently as 1991. The current Act no. 185/2001emphasises waste prevention, defines the hierarchy of waste handling, and promotes the fundamental principles of environmental and health protection in waste handling.
Read more on the waste management.
Environmental Impact Assessment
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process was firstly implemented into the Czech Republic’s legal in 1992. The process constitutes both an important element in the system of preventive environmental protection instruments and, simultaneously, a significant component of environmental policy.
The process of strategic environmental impact assessment (SEA) is based on the systematic examination and assessment of the potential environmental impact. The purpose of this is to determine, describe and carry out comprehensive evaluation of the expected impacts of prepared plans (strategies) on the environment and public health in all decisive contexts.
The EIA/SEA process is intended to reduce the detrimental environmental impacts of the evaluated projects and plans.
Environmental Impact Assessment (hereinafter referred to as "the process of EIA, process of SEA") in the Czech Republic is governed by Act No. 100/2001 Coll. on environmental impact assessment, as amended. This Act replaced the original Act No. 244/1992 Coll.
Development consents within the scope of the environmental impact assessment:
- a building permit;
- a permit of use of a building;
- an integrated environmental permit;
- a permit for special use of water;
- an ambient air pollution permit;
- a waste permit;
- a hazardous waste handling license;
- radiation practice license;
- a superficies license;
- an extraction permit for mineral resources;
- a geological exploration permit;
- a permit for general geological survey;
- other documents not specified in this section permitting the proposed activity with potentially significant environmental impact.
Environmental impact assessment may be ordered from a person who holds a license for environmental impact assessment or a legal person through an employee holding a relevant license.
Environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment
Aim of environmental impact assessment (EIA)
The aim is to give decision makers information on the environmental impact of all real courses of action and to propose the most suitable option of solution.
EIA Information System is designed for the needs of offices acting as organizational backing of the entire process according to the law on the assessment of environmental impacts. Used to keeping records of assessed plans and to publish documents related to the process of assessing the environmental impact on the internet as required by law on the assessment of environmental impact.
Purposes of strategic environmental assessment (SEA)
The aim is to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of strategic planning documents.
SEA Information System is designed for the needs of public authorities acting as the competent authority according to the law on the assessment of environmental impacts in the SEA. Used to keeping records of assessed concepts (national level) Development principles (regional level) and local plans of municipalities (local level) and the publication of documents taken during the assessment process concepts as required by law.
Upon initiation of the environmental impact assessment, it is necessary to check whether your activities are likely to have significant impact beyond the Estonian borders. It applies also to the implementation of strategic planning document. In case of transboundary environmental assessment, the person who has initiated the assessment must notify the Ministry of Environment immediately thereof.
Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas established by all EU Member States under uniform principles. The establishment of Natura 2000 is obligatory under the two most important EU regulations concerning nature protection. The purpose of the network is to guarantee protection of those animal and plant species and habitat types that are the most valuable, threatened, rare or restricted to a certain area in the European context.
The Natura 2000 network consists of two types of protected areas: Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation. There are so far 41 Special Protection Areas in the Czech Republic. They were declared by Government Regulations in 2004-2005, 2007 and most recently in 2009. The Sites of Community Importance have been summed in the so-called National List, which was approved by the Government as a whole and published lately by the Regulation no. 301/2007 Coll. and Regulation no. 371/2009.
Learn more about the legislation on EIA within Natura 2000.
Possession of an environmental permit gives you the right to use a given natural resource, emit pollutants and waste, and develop your business activity in cases set forth in legislation.
Integrated permit (IPPC permit)
Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) is an advanced system for regulation of industrial and agricultural activities in relation to the environment. The main emphasis is on a preventive approach, where pollution is avoided before it occurs by choosing appropriate production processes, resulting in cost savings on end-use technologies, raw materials and energy used.
A practical application of the IPPC principle is the integrated permitting of industrial and agricultural installations. To obtain an integrated permit, a legal or natural person doing business in industry or agriculture as defined in Annex 1 to Act no. 76/2002 Coll., on Integrated Prevention, has to file a respective application with the regional authority in charge of issuing the permit (the Ministry of the Environment issues permits for installations with transboundary environmental impacts). The integrated permit replaces most of the sectoral permits (such as air and water protection, waste treatment, etc.).
Find more on IPPC.
Granted for exploitation of a specific natural resource, for emitting pollutants into the environment from a pollution source or waste handling (e.g. prospecting permit, mining permit, permit for the special use of water, ambient air pollution permit, or waste management, etc.). Simple permits are issued on the basis of legal acts governing a specific field:
- Act No. 44/1988 Coll. on the Protection and Use of Mineral Resources (the Mining Act)
- Act No. 62/1988 Coll. on Geological Works and on the Czech Geological Office
- Act No. 201/2012 Coll., on Air Protection
- Act No. 254/2001 Coll., on Water
- Act No. 185/2001 Coll., on Waste
Applying for environmental permits
The practical application of the principle of the IPPC is integrated authorisation of industrial and agricultural equipment. To obtain the integrated permit must legal or natural person doing business, carrying on industrial or agricultural activity as defined in the Annex No. 1 of Act No. 76/2002 Coll. on integrated pollution prevention and control, on the integrated pollution register submit the request to the County office which issues the permit (in the case of device with an impact on the environment surrounding states the Ministry of Environment issue permits).
Integrated authorization is replaced by the majority of the constituent authorisations (e.g. in the field of the protection of air pollution, water and waste management).
The Ministry of Environment manages information system of integrated prevention, where the overview of the current management, database of all integrated permits issued, and the valid European and National legislation can be found.
Or consult the helpdesk ENVIhelp for further inquiries.