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02/06/2020

The new Law regarding the Environmental Policy of the Greek State

A new law regarding the environmental policy of the Greek State was recently published (Law 4685/2020, GG A’ 92/07.05.2020). The new law introduced some important amendments of the environmental legislation. The main aspects are summarized as follows:

 a)   Extension of the validity period of the Decision of Approval of Environmental Terms (DAET), from ten to fifteen years. Further, the law provides for the extension of validity period of the DAET for projects or activities which have environmental management systems (EMAS).  The specific provisions also apply to any DAET in force on the date of publication of Law 4685/2020.

b)  There is a significant reduction of the deadlines to be observed by the public authorities during the process of issuing a DAET. Furthermore, special provisions are enacted in order to ensure the compliance with the reduced deadline (i.e. by means of providing specific consequences  in case that the authorities fail to observe such deadlines). Respectively, with the reduction of the relevant deadlines, the procedures for renewal and modification of a DAET are now simplified.

c)  The licensing process regarding the production of electricity from Renewable Energy Sources and from High Performance CHP units, is now simplified.

d)  Provisions are also enacted in order to accelerate the ratification of the forest maps (e.g.  deadline of 2 months for rectifying the current maps and include administrative actions previously omitted, in order to reduce the number of pending objections , increase of the number of cases examined during the hearings of the relevant Committees etc.).

It remains to be seen whether the provisions of the new law will reconcile the fundamental needs for environmental protection and rapidity in licensing process.

Article by Eleftheria Vassila, Associate.