Estonia to update its system for environmental protection permits

  • 2021-10-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian Ministry of the Environment has begun updating and reorganizing its system of environmental protection permits and invites everyone to take part in creating a more user-centered system.

The ministry in May this year launched a project by the name of "Environmental protection permit 3.0", the objective of which is to make requirements clearer are more reasonable for applicants and reduce processing times.

"The current system for issuing permits is not well balanced because the obligation to own a permit is not always in proportion to the possible environmental risk resulting from the activity," secretary general of the Ministry of the Environment Meelis Munt said.

The new system will enable to better take into consideration possible transfer of environmental impact between elements, such as air, water, soil, biodiversity and so on. The new system will also harmonize requirements in different fields.

"What's also important is that applicants for permits receive feedback much faster," the secretary general said. The amount of bureaucracy will be reduced for activities entailing a smaller environmental risk, the handling of applications will be made quicker while each application will nonetheless be examined in detail.

"We'll be strict where the impact to the environment is large and simplify the application process where it is justified and where the environmental impact is smaller," Munt said.

The process of designing a new system for issuing environmental protection permits included interviews and workshops in summer 2021 and has involved applicants, local governments, specialized associations, officials involved in the handling of applications and others. 

Proposals for updating the systems can be made by anyone. At a virtual meeting on Nov.  3, an overview will be given of the project objectives, activities and schedule.