Albania

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EIA profile

Updated to: 14 February 2017

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EIA background

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Country contact on EIA

Contact details for the country contact on EIA.

Regional Environmental Centre Albania: 
Mailing address: P.O.Box 127, Tirana, Albania
Visiting address: Rr. Ismail Qemali, No. 27, Third Floor, Tirana, Albania
Tirana, Albania
Tel/Fax: (355-4) 232-928
Mobile tel: (355-69) 203-8727
E-mail: rec@albania.rec.org, recalbania@hotmail.com
Web page: http://albania.rec.org , http://www.mjedisisot.info

Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration (MoEFWA):
Website: http://www.moe.gov.al/

 

History of EIA

Brief description of the history of the EIA system in the country, including when it was introduced and any major milestones in its development.

The Law on Environmental Protection of 1993 set the framework for various processes and activities in the field environmental protection in Albania. It also introduced EIA into legislation and provided basic provisions for it. The Law empowered the National Environmental Agency to specify those activities that are subject to assessment.

From 2002 onwards, the national environmental legislation underwent significant changes. The recent drafting of national environmental legislation has been defined by the approximation of EU legislation on the environment. In this process, the EIA legislation was also further developed. The Law on the Environment Protection was revised in 2002. In 2003, an EIA Law was issued that determined which activities have to undergo EIA and also defined the procedures for EIA. In the following years, more detailed legislation related to EIA has been issued and the Laws further amended.  The newly adopted EIA legislation also aims to transpose the EU Acquis.

METAP 2001. Evaluation and future development of the EIA system in Albania.
UNECE 2012. Second Environmental Performance Review of Albania.

Year of introduction of EIA legislation

NB: this field is only meant for the world map. It is a hidden cell that is not published on the website. If available, mention the year when detailed national EIA regulations were issued. If such regulations do not exist and if EIA practice is base

1993

Law on Environmental Protection, 1993
Cherp A, 2001. EA legislation and practice in Central and Eastern Europe and the former USSR, A comparative analysis. EIA reviviw 21 (2001) 335-361

Legal framework for EIA

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Framework/Enabling law

Name of first enabling legislation that sets a framework for EIA.

Law on Environmental Protection (1993) provides the legal basis for EIA in Albania.

Approving authority of enabling law

Authority that approved the enabling law for EIA.

The People's Assembly of the Republic of Albania has approved the Law.

Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA

Year when when the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.

The Law No. 8990 on the Environmental Impact Assessment of 2003 provides more detailed EIA requirements and determines the EIA procedures.

2008

Approving authority of first national detailed regulation for EIA

The authority that approved the first national detailed regulation (procedural requirements) through which EIA was operationalized.

The People's Assembly of the Republic of Albania has approved the Law.

Recent updates and additions to the EIA legislation

Revisions of the EIA provisions in the enabling law or the national detailed EIA regulation (procedural requirements) are named. The year is listed, and the main changes since the first regulation are mentioned, if available. Also, additional EIA-re

The Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) of 1993 was amended in 1998, 2002 (Law No. 8934) and 2011 (Law No. 10431).

The Law on the Environmental Impact Assessment was amended in 2011 (Law No. 10440).

Various other Laws and by-laws exist that are related to EIA. Some are listed below:
- Law No. 10448 on Environmental Permitting (2011)
- Law No. 8503 on the Public Right to Access Official Information (1999)
- Law No. 8485 on The Code of Administrative Procedures (1999)
- DCM No. 13 on the approval of rules, responsibility and deadlines for the development of the EIA procedures (2013)
- DCM No. 16 on Public Access to Environmental Information (2012)
- DCM No. 994 on the participation of the public in the environmental decision making (2008)
- Ministerial Order of MEFWA No. 1 on Duties of environmental bodies to ensure the participation of public and NGOs to the process of evaluating EIA (2009)
- Ministerial Order of MEFWA No. 6 on the preliminary assessment of impacts of a certain activity (2007)
- Regulation No. 1 of MEFWA on the participation of the public in EIA (2004)
- Interior order no 137 on the requirements for the environmental permit (2004)

The Government of Albania is party to international conventions that address EIA, for example the UNECE Convention on EIA in transboundary context. Special laws regulate the procedures of EIA in a transboundary context.

Remark: No translated English versions could be found for these more recent EIA regulations. Thus, their specific content could not be considered in the current profile and other sources of information had to be used.  

Objective of EIA

The objective of EIA as stated in the above described legal basis.

The prevention and mitigation of the environmental impact of activities, by means of an open assessment process that is impartially administrated through participation of central and local agencies, the public and NGOs.

Scope of EIA application

Describes which types of activities require EIA (public and/or private activities; national and/or foreign initiated project; or all such projects)

All public and private projects or actvities that can have a significant impact on the environment, including activities from national and foreign proponents.

Exemptions from EIA application

Describes any (groups of) activities identified in the regulation that are exempted from the requirement to do EIA (e.g. military or emergency activities).

No mandate for exemptions is specified.

Institutional setting for EIA

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Central EIA authority

Is there a central authority in charge of implementing EIA? Is it independent or linked to a higher body (e.g ministry)? What are its tasks related to EIA?

The Ministry of Environment (MoE) has enacted by-laws to the law on EIA (2003) that (directly) apply to all regions. It establishes a review commission to review EIA reports and it issues or rejects the environmental declaration.

Since 2002 the tasks and structure of the Ministry has been changed several times. It is now called the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration (MoEFWA). The MoEFWA has a Department of EIA.

Other key (governmental) parties involved in EIA, and their roles

Lists other key parties (e.g. a review commission, knowledge institute) that have a role in many or all EIAs.

The Environment and Forest Agency (EFA) is a legal, public and budgetary insitution under the MoEFWA. It was established in 2006. It has 12 regional agencies, the Regional Environmental Agencies (REA). The REAs are members of decision-making bodies at the regional and municipal level. They receive the applications for permits and can have the authority to issue environmental permits for projects with minor negative impacts. The REAs are also involved in the review process.

Consultants prepare the EIA document; specialized research institutions may be consulted by the proponent or MoEFWA; NGOs should be consulted before submitting the application and during review.

In 2009 the National Licensing Centre (NLC) was established to issue licenses. Applications for licenses must be made to NLC, also for environmental permits.

(De)centralisation of EIA mandates

Describes if EIA mandates are (de)centralised. Vertical decentralization refers to the extent to which the responsibility for EIA processes are delegated by the central government to the provincial or local authorities. Sectoral or horizontal decen

The REAS can play an important role in the EIA process. They are involved in the Screening and Review process. Also they can be the competent authority which issues the permits. Activities with significant negative impacts are approved at the central level, i.e. by MoEFWA, but activities with minor negative impacts fall within the competence of REAs.

EIA procedure

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Overview EIA procedure

Characterizes the overall EIA procedure. If relevant, interesting aspects of the EIA procedure are mentioned such as: which procedural steps are part of the EIA procedure? How are they linked to each other? Are there different levels of assessment di

EIA in Albania is directly integrated in the environmental permitting process. The application for environmental permits marks the beginning of the EIA process. The application is firstly sent to the National Licensing Centre (NLC) which checks the documents and then transfers the documents to MoEFWA for review and final decision. The EIA process subsequently includes Screening for the need to apply for a permit, the preparation of the documents including the EIA report, the review and the decision on the report approval. Thereafter, a decision is taken on whether or not an Environmental Declaration is issued. In case of compliance during the construction activities, an Environmental Permit is issued after the construction phase of the project. Scoping is not a required step of the EIA process.

Screening

Screening requirement and authority

Describes if a formal screening decision required, and if so, which authority is responsible for this decision. Is this decision published?

Screening is a requirement and the decision is taken by the Regional Environmental Authorities (REAs) or the Ministry in charge of the environment.

Screening process

Describes the screening process: steps in screening, the stakeholders involved and outcomes of the process, status of screening advice of different stakeholders, etc. Also describes any prescribed methods for screening. If preliminary EIA's / light EIA's / Initial Environmental Evaluations (IEE) are done in this country and which criteria determine whether a preliminary or a full EIA is requested

Before submitting an application for screening, the proponent should, according to LEP 2002, consult with local government, the public and local environmental NGOs on alternatives for the activity. The outcome of the preliminary consultation has to be included in the application for screening. The proponent may also circumvent screening, by directly submitting an EIA with the application. The Law on EIA (2003) does not require preliminary consultation.

Activities listed in Annex I of the Law on EIA (2003) require a full EIA. Activities in Annex II require a partial EIA, unless they can have a significant impact on the environment or will affect a sensitive area, then a full EIA is requested by the REA or MoEFWA. Annex III lists criteria to determine if a significant effect can be expected, as well as types of sensitive areas. The MoEFWA may at any time during review of a partial EIA, request for a full EIA

Provision for sensitive areas

Are specific requirements formulated for environmentally sensitive areas? (e.g. no minimum thresholds, full EIA instead of partial EIA)

Environmental sensitiveness of an area should be considered for activities listed in Annex II, as these require a full EIA. Criteria include: current land use, abundance of the area, quality and regenerating capacity of the natural resources and the absorbing capacity of the area. Eight (types of) environmentally sensitive areas are identified in Annex III of the Law on EIA (2003).

Contents of the starting document

Describes the required content of the starting document (if any) that the proponent should submit to the competent authority for EIA screening. Mentions if the starting document is published.

The application should contain: name, adress, judicial status of the proponent and the proposed activity.

The LEP 2002 requests more details in the application, comparable to the contents requirements of a partial EIA: the project, the proposed location, mitigation measures, necessary data for impact assessment, alternatives and other information required by the competent authority. This documentation should reflect the preparatory communication between the proponent and local government, the public and local environmental NGOs.

Timeline Screening

Maximum number of (working) days allowed between submission of the starting document and the screening decision.

5 days

Scoping

Scoping requirement

Is a formal scoping step required as part of the EIA process?

Scoping is not required in Albania.

Scoping process

Describes who carries main responsibility to undertake scoping and what the roles and responsibilities of the involved parties during the process are. Specifically, is there independent formulation and/or review of the scoping document, approval of the scoping document? Are any methods prescribed, e.g. participation, checklists. What guidance is provided?

No information

Contents of the scoping document

Explains if there are there specific requirements for the content of the scoping document, and if so, what these are.

No information

Timeline scoping

Number of (working) days for the decision on approval of the scoping document by the competent authority.

No information

Assessment and reporting

Assessment process

Steps and roles of stakeholders in the assessment and status of the input of the stakeholders. Also sets out methods for assessment of the environmental impacts of the activity, if prescribed, and whether the assessment covers environmental, social, economic and/or transboundary effects.

The EIA report is prepared by independent environmental experts certified by MoEFWA or by consulting companies licensed by the National Licensing Centre (NLC).

Contents of the EIA report

Explains what should be contained in the EIA report. Specifies if a potential Environmental Management Plan is part of the EIA report or if it is a separate document that contributes to the EIA process.

The partial EIA contains information on:

a) the objective of the activity;
b) a detailed objective description;
c) data on the environment of the proposed location and its area;
d) a detailed description of all installations that are part of the project or will be used during its implementation;
e) construction plan including the deadlines of its implementation;
f) a description of engineered values that are contructed or enlarged and of necessary works for project implementation;
g) the potential environmental impact and proposed mitigation measures;
h) the monitoring program of the environmental impact;
i) conformity of the activity with a territorial adjustment plan and with the economic development plan of the area concerned;
j) a summary of consultations with local government, the public and environmental NGOs and their opinions;
k) rehabilitation measures in case of pollution and damage of the environment including costs;
l) a copy of the license, to prove that the person who compiled the report is accredited.

The full EIA contains in addition to the contents of the partial EIA, information on:

a) the procedures and arguments for the selected site, including a description of at least two location-alternatives;
b) the direct and indirect level of the environmental impact;
c) potential impact of options (of the activity) on environment and health;
d) trans-border impact on the environment (if any)
e) a technical plan for mitigation measures;
f) a detailed plan on the sustainable use of energy, natural and mining resources;
g) a (potential) negotiation plan with local government and the public and NGOs during planning, review and implementation of the activity.

Review

Review process

Overview of the review process, including: steps in the process and roles of the stakeholders, status of the input of the stakeholders. Is the process open to public? Review method: internal review, external review, panel/commission (permanent or temporary), are the review results documented? Are the review criteria general or case by case? Are the review results documented? Is a potential review

The REA sends the documents and their advice on the approval of the (full and partial) EIA documents to the MoEFWA. Experts are invited to the review commission meetings for explanation of their advice. The meetings are open to the public. The review commission consults the above mentioned governmental agencies and specialized institutions. Simultaneously  the local government agency organizes a public debate after it is contacted by the MoEFWA. The results of the debate are submitted to the MoEFWA.

Review expertise

Describes if the EIA is checked by external parties, and if so to what extent these represent required disciplines/expertise. Also sets out if measures have been taken to ensure that reviewers are impartial?

The experts consulted are different then those involved in the preparation of the (partial or full) EIA report. Experts consulted by the review committee are impartial.

Timeline Review

Number of (working) days for review of the EIA by the competent authority.

The initial review by the REA takes maximum 20 days. The review commission has two months to review a partial EIA and three months for a full EIA.

Decision-making

Integration of EIA into decision-making

Describes what kind of decision-making processes the EIA is intended to support. We look specifically at the decision on EIA approval, and how this relates to envirionmental approval for the project, and other project approval decisions (permits) needed before a project can proceed. This category describes which decisions are influenced by EIA and how they are linked to each other.

The full or partial EIA forms the basis for the issuance or rejection of the Environmental Declaration. Such a declaration is required before other licenses are issued, e.g. a Construction Permit. An Environmental Permit is then issued after the activity has been constructed, but only if the activity had complied with the Enviornmental Declaration and Construction Permit conditions. Approval of the EIA report and issuance of the Environmental Declaration and the Environmental Permit are all separate decisions, but they are taken by the same Ministry.

Competent authority

Describes which authority/authorities is/are responsible for each of the main decision-making processes on EIA (EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval). It is explained if those decisions are taken by the same or different authorities.

The competent authority depends on the level of significance of the negative impacts of the activity. Activities with significant negative impacts are approved by the MoEFWA and for activities with minor negative impacts the REAs are entitled to decide and issue environmental consents or authorization.

Decision documents

Mentions if the decision (on EIA approval and/or environmental approval) is linked to certain documents (e.g. environmental management plan, permit conditions) in order to facilitate the management of environmental risks during project implementation. Also describes if commitments of the proponent are incorporated into legally binding instruments.

The enviornmental declaration contains:
a) norms of discharges of expected pollutants in air, water and land;
b) compulsary measures based on best available techniques of construction put into use of the project;
c) compulsory measures for protection of air, water, land, biodiversity and to prevent the pollution transfer form one component of the environment to another;
d) requirements for monitoring of discharges determining measurements methodology, their frequency, assessment procedure and publication of results;
e) conditions on limiting the trans-border pollution above the permitted levels;
e) additional measures to prevent surpassing of the quality of environmental norms;
f) the requirement of reporting and comparing determined impacts during preparation of the report with real effects of project implementation.

Decision justification

Sets out requirements for justification of the consideration of the EIA information in decision-making (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval).

The EIA law prescribes the contents of the environmental declaration. If a proposal is rejected, the environmental declaration should contain a justification from the environmental, technical, legal and administrative point of view.

Decision publication

Does the decision (on EIA approval, environmental approval and/or project approval) have to be published? Also, is the decision justification published as well?

The MoEFWA publishes the decision and sends a copy of the environmental declaration or permit to the proponent, the licensing governmental agencies and the local government.

Timeline decision-making

Maximum number of (working) days available to the competent authority to make the EIA based decision (EIA approval, environmental clearance and/or project approval).

Within 5 days, after the review commission has submitted its advice

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance monitoring

Is compliance monitoring required to check if the project is implemented as described in the EIA documents and/or if mitigation of environmental impacts complies with applicable standards and other measures set out in the EIA documents? Who is responsible for ensuring compliance? How does this authority ensure compliance (for example, through inspections)? And what requirements are there for the p

Focus of monitoring is on permit compliance and a mitigation plan. A technical plan for mitigation measures, a detailed plan on the sustainable use of energy, natural and mining resources and a (potential) negotiation plan are submitted together with the EIA report. 

External monitoring

Are there monitoring requirements that involve external parties, such as citizen monitoring (for example, through a complaints procedure), or third party auditing?

The EIA review commission pays a site visit, to check if the construction of the activity is in accordance to the environmental ordinance, that is issued.

Non-compliance penalties

Are there penalties that the authority responsible for compliance can apply if environmental conditions are not met? What are these? (for example, fines, suspension of license)

The MoEFWA may suspend the issued environmental declaration or environmetnal permit, when proved that these have been based on false documents. A proponent gets the opportunity to submit the requested document while the activity is temporarily suspended. If the proponent fails to do so, the Inspectorate of Environment and the Construction Police order definitive closure of the activity.

Payment system

Is the proponent required to pay a fee when applying for an EIA? Is this fee linked to a permitting fee, or separate? If yes, when is this paid and to whom (to the agency that issues the license or to a central agency)?

The proponent pays a service fee for the REA review and the review by the MoEFWA. One third is paid when submitting the request for review, and the rest when it is reviewed by the review commission. 

Public participation

Public participation requirements for EIA process stages

Describes for which of the EIA process stages public participation is required.

The Law on EIA stipulates that the public should participate in all phases, but refers to additional laws for details. Rather detailed provisions are given for public participation during the review stage.

Public participation guidance

Has any guidance on participation been provided?

The DCM No. 994 on Public participation of 2008 sets the legal basis for public participation in the environmental decision-making process.

Access to information

Which of the information that is generated in the EIA process is available to the public? Specifically, which reports and decision statements?

The public should in the preliminary consultation receive two alternatives for the activity from the proponent, before the request for the environmental declaration is submitted. The public receives a notification from the local government, when the MoEFWA started processing the documentation.

The DCM on Public participation in Environmental Decision-making (2008) obliges local government institutions to enable public access to the following documents:
- A summary of the project and EIA report
- The draft environmental permit
- A full copy of documents presented by the developer so that members of the public may review all the details of the project.

Information dissemination

How can the public receive the information that is publicly available? Are there public announcement on the proceedings? How/where are these published? Is information made available locally? Is information sent on request? etc.

Public notification of the consultation process is ensured through local radio and television, websites and periodic journals, if possible. The local government is obliged to publish a public notice at its notification stand.

Timeline for public comments

The number of (working) days available for the public to make comments on the EIA decision document.

The public can make comments on the documentation that is made available for at least one month.

Costs for public

Are there any specified costs public parties will incur if they partake in EIA?(e.g. costs for the receiving report, costs of losing an appeal, etc. Costs associated with travel to meetings or such are not included here)

No information

Public comments

What options do the public have to provide their comments. Should comments be written, or may they also be verbal? To which agency should they provide their submissions?

No information

Public comments in decision-making

Do the EIA and/or project approval decisions have to be justified on the basis of public participation results? Do legal texts indicate how public participation results should be used and to which decision-making processses they should contribute?

No information

Legal recourse

Possibilities for appeal

What are the legal recourse options to challenge EIA decisions are provided for within the legal framework?

Under the Law on EIA appeal is open to the proponent in court within thirty days, against the screening decision and licensing decision. The public may lodge complaints with the MoEFWA on irregularities in the process.

Decisions that can be appealed

Which EIA decisions can be appealed?

Screening and final project approval decision

Who can appeal

Who can make an appeal (in other words, has legal standing)?

Appeal is open to everyone

EIA practice

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Accreditation of consultants

Is there and accreditation system operational in the country to certify consultants to do EIAs?

Independent environmental experts are certified by MoEFWA.

Professional bodies

Professional bodies relevant to EIA practice in the country, such as EIA Associations, Environmental Expert Associations, etc are listed here.

REC Albania: REC Albania is an important environmental resource in Albania. It assists and facilitates some of the most important environmental processes and activities - including the Arhus Convention, Local Environmental Action Plans and the Environmental Education Program for the secondary level of the public school system - serving the whole spectrum of the Albanian environmental movement.

Non-governmental EIA guidance

Lists any EIA manuals and good practice publications (including checklists, case studies) that have been published by parties other than government.

None

EIA links

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Links to laws/regulation

Any relevant links to laws or regulations are included here.

Law on EIA 2003 no 8990

Law on Environmental Protection 2002, No. 8934