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EIA profile

Updated to: 25 February 2015

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EIA background

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Country contact on EIA

Igor Trajkovski
Director Office of environment
Ministry of Environment and physical planning
Goce Delcev 18, 1000  Skopje
Email: I.Trajkovski@moepp.gov.mk
Tel:+389 (0) 3251 461

History of EIA

Within the framework of the former Yugoslavia, it was obligatory to prepare studies on environmental impacts, which contained elements of an EIA process. After independence, EIA requirements were spread over 
several laws (e.g. the Law on environment and nature conservation of 1996) but EIA had not been adopted by the parliament in a separate law. In 2005 the Law on Environment was introduced, which consolidated the EIA process in chapter IX.  Secondary legislation dealing with screening, scoping, reviewing and reporting in EIA procedure, as well as with  public participation and establishment of a certified list of EIA experts, were adopted in 2005 and 2006. The current EIA system is harmonized with the European Union directives and the ESPOO convention on EIA in a transboundary context, that was ratified in 1999.

Year of introduction of EIA legislation

1996

Legal framework for EIA

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Year of introduction of enabling law

2005

The Law on Environment (2005) has a Chapter IX on Environmental Impact Assessment of certain projects. 

Approving authority of enabling law

The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia approved the Law on the Environment.

Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA

The Minister of Environment and Physical Planning has adopted several ordinances and one decree related to EIA:

  • Decree on determining projects for which and criteria on the basis of which the screening for EIA should be carry out (Official Gazette No. 74/05)
  • Ordinance on the amount of expenses covered by the investor for implementation of EIA procedure (Official Gazette no. 33/06)
  • Ordinance on the information contained in notification of intent to implement a project and the procedure for determining the need for EIA of a project (Official Gazette 33/06)
  • Ordinance on the content of announcement of the notification of the intention to implement a project, on the necessity of an EIA, on the study on project EIA, of the report on the adequacy of the study on EIA (Official Gazette 33/06)
  • Ordinance on the content of the requirements that need to be fulfilled by the study on EIA (Official Gazette 33/06)
  • Ordinance on the form, content procedure and manner of developing the report on the adequacy of the study on EIA of the project and the procedure for authorisation of persons from the List of Experts for EIA responsible for the preparation of the report (Official Gazette 33/06)
  • Ordinance on establishment the List with EIA experts, the procedure for carrying out the EIA expert exam, establishment of the Commission for evaluation of the EIA expert knowledge(Official Gazette 93/07)
  • Ordinance on the amount of expenses covered by the investor for implementation of EIA procedure ( Official Gazette no. 116/09)

2006

Approving authority of first national detailed regulation for EIA

The Ministry of Environmental and Physical Planning approved the subsidiary decrees.

Recent updates and additions to the EIA legislation

The Law on the Environment (Official Gazette No. 53/05) was amended several times: Official Gazette No. 81/05, 24/07, 159/08, 83/09, 48/10, 124/10, 51/11 and 123/12.

The Decree on determining projects for which and criteria on the basis of which the screening for EIA should be carry out (Official Gazette No. 74/05) was amended in 2009 and 2012 ( Official Gazette No. 74/05, 109/09 and 164/12). The 2012 amendment included an updating of the screening lists in its Annex I and Annex II.

Sector specific procedures or regulations on EIA

The Law on Waste Management (2004), the Law on Air Quality (2004) and the Law on Water (2008) specifically refer to the EIA requirement. The Law on Nature Protection (2004) requires a Nature Impact Assessment for specified plans and programmes (see also the Macedonian SEA profile).
 

Guidelines

The Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning has produced Guidance on the implementation of the EIA procedure, as well as for preparation of EIA Studies for the following sectors: Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) Development, Landfill Development, Dams Construction, Slaughterhouse Development, Overhead Transmission lines Construction, Mineral Resource Extraction Part I – extraction of groundwater and gas extraction, Mineral Resource Extraction Part II – quarries.

Guidelines on undertaking specific EIA steps (screening, scoping and reviewing of EIA) have also been produced by the Ministry, to support the work of their own staff.

Objective of EIA

EIA is a means to achieve the objectives of the Law on Environment, which are: 1) the preservation, protection, restoration and improvement of the quality of the environment; 2) protection of human life and health; 3) protection of biological diversity; 4) rational and sustainable utilization of natural resources; 5) implementation and improvement of measures aimed at addressing regional and global environmental problems.

Scope of EIA application

The projects subject to EIA include public and private activities. Specific provisions exist for foreign projects with transboundary impact in Macedonia and vice versa.

Exemptions from EIA application

Article 78 of the Law on Environment (48/10) promulgates that the Government of the Republic of Macedonia,  by proposal from the MOEPP, may decide in exceptional cases that an EIA has not to be carried out, either for the whole project or parts of it. This decision is made on the basis fo a case-by-case examination. An exemption can be granted in case of:
-  war or state of emergency,
- defense needs of the Republic of Macedonia, or
- need for urgent prevention of events that could have not been predicted and are likely to have a serious impact on health, security or property of people, or on the environment.

The Ministry needs to inform the public the decision on exemption, and on the outcomes of the alternative assessment method applied.

Institutional setting for EIA

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Central EIA authority

The Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning (MoEPP) is responsible for implementation of the Environmental Law, including the EIA procedure. MoEPP also has specific responsibilities in screening, scoping, and review of the EIA report. The responsibities for implementing EIA procedures are settled within the Office of Environment (Environmental Adminsitration) which is a constituent part of the MoEPP. It has a specific Unit for EIA.

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

  • Ministries, State institutions and Local Self Government Units provide information necessary for the definition of the scope definition and preparation of the EIA Study and give input during review.
  • The State Environmental Inspection is in charge of supervising enforcement of the Law on Environment, including checking that EIAs have been undertaken for project requiring them, and monitoring that mitigation measure proposed in EIAs are in fact carried out.
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs is involved in transboundary EIA processes, and ensures proper notification and consultation with the relevant countries.

Mandate for exemption of EIA obligation

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia,  by proposal from the MOEPP, may exempt  a specific project or part of a project from EIA, under specified conditions.

(De)centralisation of EIA mandates

The EIA system in Macedonia is centralized. The MOEPP has the main responsibility for decision-making processes in EIA.

EIA procedure

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Overview EIA procedure

The EIA process in Macedonia requires Screening, Scoping, Assessment, Review and a decision on the consent of the EIA process allowing the proponent to obtain other relevant permits.

The following documents are important outputs of the EIA process: Notification document (for Screening), Scoping opinion document, EIA report, Consent decision document.

Screening

Screening requirement and authority

Screening is carried out by MoEPP and the screening decision is published.

Screening process

The proponent submits a notification of intent document to the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (MoEPP), in which it announced that it intends to initiate a project that may be subject to EIA. Together with the notification, the proponent gives an opinion on whether EIA is needed or not. If the proponent considers EIA necessary, then they can submit a request for the Ministry to give an opinion on the scope of the EIA, together with the notification.

The Ministry makes use of  the decree on screening to make the screening decision, which prescribes a combination of a positive list and case-by-case screening. An EIA is requested for all activities listed in Annex I of the relevant Decree and for those listed in Annex II when there is a significant impact, because of such characteristics as type, dimension or location of the project and/or because of the environmental sensitivity of the proposed location.

Once the screening decision is made, the Ministry notifies the proponent and publishes the screening decision, which includes an explanation of the reasoning for the EIA.

Articles 80 and 81, Law on Environment
Effectiveness of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment procedures in the Republic of Macedonia, 2009, Macedonian Green Centre.

Provision for sensitive areas

Environmental sensitiveness of an area should be considered, and may trigger the EIA requirement.

Contents of the starting document

The notification document  that an initiator of a project submits shall contain the following information:

  • Information on the investor
  • Characteristics of the project, including documentations of capacity or size if relevant for the screening decision
  • Description of which category in annex 1 or 2 the project falls
  • If the investor is considering the EIA not necessary he/she needs to specify the reason
  • The municipality in which the project is intended to be realized
  • Location of the project and a brief description of the surrounding
    environment
  • Indication of potential emissions to water, air and soil
  • Characteristics of the potential impacts on the environment and the landscape, historical and cultural heritage
  • Indication of which other competent authorities the notification is sent to.

The Ministry publishes this notification.

Timeline Screening

The Ministry announces its screening decison within 30 days of submission of the notification of intent. If the proponent has asked for the scoping opinion and screening decision simultaneously, then the Ministry gives both within those 30 days. In that case, 15 days are given, within the 30 day period, to receive comments from other authorities on the scope.

Scoping

Scoping requirement

Scoping is required (article 82, law of environment).

Scoping process

The Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning (MoEPP) determines the scope of the study on environmental impact assessment. The MoEPP can engage the help of certified EIA experts in preparing its scoping opinion. 

MoEPP consults the proponent and the municipalities in the area of which the project is to be carried out, as well as other relevant bodies of the state administration and institutions. These bodies have to provide their  information and opinions within 15 days of the day of submission of the request for consultation.

The opinion of the scope of the study on project environmental impact assessment shall in particular contain:

  • alternatives to be taken into consideration;
  • basic review and research required;
  • methods and criteria used for anticipation and assessment of the effects;
  • measures for improvement to be taken into consideration;
  • legal persons that should be consulted during the preparation of the study on the project environmental impact assessment; and
  • structure, content and extent of environmental information.

The scoping opinion of the Ministry is published.

Article 82, Law on Environment

Contents of the scoping document

The regulation refers to an opinion on the scope of the EIA, which is published by the Ministry.

Timeline scoping

The Law for general administrative procedures determines that the timeline available for scoping is 30 days.

Assessment and reporting

Assessment process

In preparing the preparing the EIA Study the proponent  is obliged to engage at least one person from the list of recognised EIA experts, who signs off on the EIA Study, thereby vouching for its quality.

The assessment focuses mainly on effects on the biophysical environment.

Contents of the EIA report

The following content is required in an EIA:

  • description of the project with information on the location, character and the size of the project and the land area needed
  • description of the environment and its media on the location
  • description of historic and cultural heritage and the landscape
  • description of the type and quantity of emissions and wastes expected, especially emissions in the air, solid wastes and waste water, as well as other information necessary for evaluation of significant effects of the project on the environment;
  • description of the measures for prevention, diminishing and elimination of the impact on the environment, as well as the substitution measures in case of intervention in the natural environment and landscape;
  • description of the effects of the project on the environment having in mind the level of scientific development and accepted evaluation methods;
  • description of the characteristics of the technology used;
  • description of the alternative solutions for realization of the project that the investor had considered and the main reasons for the choice of the proposed option; the zero-option shall always be included;
  • summary of the study submitted without technical details;
  • review of the difficulties (technical defects or lack of knowledge) that the investor or the expert were faced with in the course of study preparation;
  • suggestion for the size and the characteristics under which the environmental impact assessment study should be updated.

Review

Review process

Once it is ready, the proponent submits the EIA report to the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (MoEPP). The Ministry can request additional information of the proponent if the EIA report is not sufficient. If the proponent fails to supplement the EIA report within a maximum of 40 days, if this is requested, the Ministry can appoint an EIA expert to prepare the EIA report with the requested supplements.

The Ministry announces that the EIA report is ready, and publishes the summary on its website. The Ministry also submits the EIA report for consultation to the relevant municipalities. Any person, state administration body, or Mayor, may submit their opinion in writing to the Ministry within 30 days. The Ministry then organises a public hearing.

The MoEPP prepares a review report on the EIA study. The MoEPP may appoint registered experts for this (but not the same experts that were involved in EIA report drafting). If during review information is considered missing, then the proponent is asked to provide this additional information within 30 days. The review report states whether the EIA study was done in accordance with the requirements of the Law on Environment and it proposes conditions to be set out in the permit for the implementation and measures to prevent and mitigate harmful impacts. The review should be based on the EIA study and on the received comments. The review report is forwarded to the relevant government bodies, and published as well.

Review expertise

External experts can be asked to assist in review. The experts involved in foregoing stages of the EIA process are by law not allowed to review the EIA study.

Law on environment, article 86

Timeline Review

A maximum of 60 days is given for review, but in certain circumstances this may be extended to 90 days, at the most.

Decision-making

Integration of EIA into decision-making

Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning needs to grant a consent on the basis of the EIA before other permits needed for the project to proceed can be given. For example, EIA approval is needed before a permit for abstraction of water or exploitation of quarries of the by the Ministry of Economy is given or prior to considering technical designs by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Competent authority

The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning issues a decision on whether to grant consent to or reject the application for the project implementation, on the basis of the EIA. Before the government authority (line ministry or local government, for example) responsible for approving the project can give the permit required, the proponent has to provide either a decision to grant consent from the Ministry of Environment and Planning, or a screening decision by the same Ministry showing that no EIA is required.

Decision documents

The decision on the consent of the EIA process contains permit conditions for the project implementation as well as measures for prevention and reduction of the harmful effecs.

Decision justification

The announcement of the consent decision by the Ministry  shall contain information about whether the project EIA study fulfills the prescribed requirements .

Decision publication

The decision is published by the Ministry.

Timeline decision-making

The Ministry must decide on the consent within 40 days of submission of the EIA review report.

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance monitoring

The Ordinance for EIA requires that a monitoring plan is submitted as an integrated part of the EIA study. The State Inspectorate for Environment and the municipalities which are affected by the project are responsible for ensuring that the monitoring plan is being implemented.

External monitoring

No information.

Non-compliance penalties

The Law on the Environment prescribes fines for the various misdemeanors, for instance if:
- a legal person fails to inform the respective authority about the intention to carry out a project (Article 80),
- an EIA study has not been developed and submitted to the respective authority (Article 83)

EIA evaluation

Focus of the monitoring activities should be the environmental effects from applied mitigation measures, as  stipulated in the EIA study and the decision for project undertaking.

Payment system

The proponent pays for the screening decision (salary of the civil servant per hour spent plus average overhead costs per hour spent) and scoping decision (same methodology as screening) and for the EIA review (costs are determined by the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning). Costs for the public hearing are borne by the MoEPP.

Public participation

Public participation requirements for EIA process stages

Provisions for public participation are made in the Law on Environment: public may make written comments during for the scoping stage and a public hearing is part of the review of the EIA report.

Public participation arrangements

The MoEPP ensures the availability of all information to the public. The regulations suggests that the proponent may at an early stage involve the public by a direct dialogue. The MoEPP may assist in identifying the concerned public. All governmental agencies should make available, upon request, relevant/requested information for review, on the spot or by sending a copy after a request is made.

Public participation guidance

No information.

Access to information

The public's access to environmental information is governed by chapter VIII in Law on the Environment. The access of information and/or the documents shall be sent as soon as possible and in time in order for the public to comment within the stipulated deadline for comments.

Article 90 of the Law on Environment stipulates that the following documents should be made available to the public: the notification document, the screening decision, the EIA report, the review report, consent decision document, announcement of public hearing. 

Information dissemination

The application document and screening decision are announced in at least one daily newspaper and on the web site of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning. The screening decision is also published on the notice board of MoEPP. The EIA report is announced in at least one daily national newspaper and through a local radio/TV station. The non-technical summary of the EIA is published on the website of the MoEPP. The review document is published in at least one daily national newspaper and on the website of MoEPP.  The announcement of the public hearing is made in at least one daily national newspaper and on the local TV and radio station.

Timeline for public comments

The public has 30 days to comment on the draft EIA report.

Costs for public

The proponent generally has to take over the costs associated with public participation. Article 92 from the Law on Environment determines that the investor shall pay for the organization of the public hearing. Also costs for providing the public with information on the environmental impacts of the project are covered by the proponent (Article 90).

Public comments

Written comments received and all comments made during public hearings should be taken into account.

Public comments in decision-making

The regulation states that the decision to give consent or not should be based on the public debate. There are not specific requirements on the extent to which public comments should determine the decision.

Legal recourse

Possibilities for appeal

The screening decision and the project consent decision, including its conditions, can be appealed to the State Commission for deciding in administrative procedure and the procedure employed in the second degree.

Decisions that can be appealed

The screening decision and project consent decision.

Who can appeal

Appeal is open to everyone. The Law on Environment states that any legal or natural persons concerned, as well as the citizens’ associations established for the purpose of environment protection and improvement shall have the right to lodge an appeal.

EIA practice

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Annual no. of EIAs

In 2012, for about 10 projects the EIA procedure has been finalized.

Central EIA database

There is not yet a central EIA database, but EIA studies can be found on the website of the Ministry.

Practice reviews

The NGO Macedonian Green Centre published a study on the "Effectiveness of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment procedures in the Republic of Macedonia" in 2009.  

Accreditation of consultants

The legislation stipulates that EIA can only be undertaken by experts that are certified and have been incorporated into the list of recognised EIA experts. Under the responsibility of the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning, a committee certifies the experts, according to a prescribed procedure.

Professional bodies

The Macedonian regulation requires that EIAs are undertaken by certified EIA experts. A  committee has been appointed under the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning to certify experts and a public register of certified experts is kept.

Non-governmental EIA guidance

No information.

Capacity development

No information.

EIA links

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Links to laws/regulation

The Law on Environment is available, in Macedonian and in English, on the website of the Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning.

Other relevant links on EIA

No information.