Environmental impact assessment is a preventive protection measure based on studies and consultations with public participation and the analysis of alternative measures, with the aim to collect data and assess detrimental impact of projects upon human life and health, flora and fauna, land, water, air, climate and landscape, material and cultural goods etc., and mutual impact of these factors. Its aim is also to establish and propose measures by which detrimental impacts may be prevented, reduced or removed in view of the feasibility of these projects. The study is elaborated pursuant to the provisions of the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment („Official Gazette of RS”, No. 135/2004 and 36/2009), rules on scope and content and decision on the scope and content of the study on the environmental impact assessment study of the project (“Official Gazette of RS“, No. 69/2005).

The Law on Environmental Impact Assessment regulates the procedure for impact assessment of projects with significant environmental impact, the content of environmental impact assessment study, participation of interested stakeholders, etc.

The subject matter of impact assessment are projects which are planned and implemented, changes of technology, reconstruction, expansion of capacity, closing of operations and suspension of projects which may have significant environmental impact. The subject matter of impact assessment are projects implemented without a study on impact assessment, which do not have approval for construction, or construction permit. Impact assessment is made for projects in the field of industry, mining, energy, traffic, tourism, agriculture, water management, waste management and public utilities, as well as for projects related to protected natural property and implemented in protected area of an immovable cultural good.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia establishes a list of projects for which an environmental impact assessment is mandatory, as well as a list of projects for which it may be requested. In the latter case, the competent body shall decide on the need for developing environmental impact assessment study for the projects.

Environmental impact assessment procedure consists of the following phases:

  1. decision on the need for environmental impact assessment in case of projects for which it may be required;
  2. definition of the scope and content of the environmental impact assessment study;
  3. decision on approval of the environmental impact assessment study.

Decision on the need for environmental impact assessment

The investor of the project for which an environmental impact assessment may be requested shall obtain from the Department of Urban Planning, Environment and Property Affairs the decision regarding the need for an environmental impact assessment.

The application for the decision regarding the need for environmental impact assessment is submitted on prescribed form and shall contain:

  1. data on the investor;
  2. description of the location;
  3. project description;
  4. presentation of the main alternatives;
  5. description of environmental factors which may be exposed to the impact;
  6. description of possible significant detrimental impacts of the project;
  7. description of measures for prevention and mitigation of detrimental impact;
  8. any other data that may be requested by the competent body.

The following documents shall be enclosed to the request:

  1. excerpt from the urban plan, or the approved urban project, i.e. act on urban requirements which is not older than one year (location permit);
  2. preliminary design or conceptual design, or an excerpt from the conceptual design;
  3. graphical presentation of micro and macro location;
  4. requirements and approvals by other competent bodies and organizations obtained under special law;
  5. evidence on the republic administrative fee paid;
  6. any other evidence as required.

Within the decision-making procedure, which takes ten days upon the receipt of the correct request, the competent body shall inform interested stakeholders and the public on the submitted request about the need for environmental impact assessment.

All interested stakeholders and the public may, within ten days after the receipt of information, give their opinion. Within ten days following the expiration of the deadline, the Department of Environmental Protection shall decide on the request taking into account the specifics of the project and the location, as well as the opinion of stakeholders and the public.

When the Department of Urban Planning, Environment and Property Affairs decides that an environmental impact assessment study is necessary, it may also define its scope and content. When such body decides that an environmental impact assessment study is not necessary, it may establish the minimum requirements relevant for environmental protection according to special law. The competent body submits its decision to the investor, and informs the interested stakeholders and the public on the decision within three days after the day on which such decision was made.

Defining the scope and content of the environmental impact assessment study

In case of a project for which environmental impact assessment study is mandatory and for which the Department of Urban Planning, Environment and Property Affairs has established such obligation, the investor shall submit a request for defining the scope and content of the environmental impact assessment study.

The request for determining the scope and content is submitted on a prescribed form and shall contain:

  1. data on the investor;
  2. description of the location;
  3. description of project;
  4. presentation of main alternatives;
  5. description of environmental factors which may be exposed to the impact;
  6. description of detrimental impacts;
  7. description of measures for prevention and mitigation of detrimental impact;
  8. non-technical summary of data related to points 2) to 6);
  9. data on difficulties encounters by the investor in gathering required data and documentation;
  10. any other data that may be requested by the competent body.

The following documentation is submitted with the request:

  1. excerpt from the urban plan or the approved urban project, i.e. the document on urban requirements which is not older than one year (location permit);
  2. conceptual design i.e. excerpt from the conceptual design;
  3. graphic presentation of the micro and macro location;
  4. requirements and approvals by other competent bodies and organization obtained under the special law;
  5. evidence on the republic administrative fee paid;
  6. another evidence, as required.

The Department of Urban Planning, Environment and Property Affairs shall inform the interested stakeholders and the public on the submitted request for defining the scope and content within ten days upon its receipt. Interested stakeholders and the public can give their opinions on the request within 15 days upon the receipt of the information. The competent body shall make a decision on the scope and content of the environmental impact assessment study not later than ten days upon the expiration of this deadline taking into account the specific characteristics of the project and location, as well as opinions of interested stakeholders and the public.

The Department of Urban Planning, Environment and Property Affairs shall submit the decision to the investor and shall inform the interested stakeholders and the public about it within three days upon making such decision.

Decision on approval of the environmental impact assessment study

The investor shall submit the request for approval of the environmental impact assessment study to the Department of Urban Planning, Environment and Property Affairs along with the following documents:

  1. at least three hardcopies of the study plus one copy in electronic format;
  2. decision on the scope and content of the environmental impact assessment study.

The investor shall submit the request for approval not later than one year upon receipt of the final decision by which the scope and content of the environmental impact assessment study are defined. If the investor submits the request for approval after the given deadline, the competent body shall decide on the request depending on the circumstances of each case.

The environmental impact assessment study and its approval, i.e. the decision that such study is not necessary, form the integral part of the documentation which is submitted with the request for approval of construction, or with the announcement of the beginning of project implementation (construction, works, performance of works, change of technology, change of field of activity and other activities).

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