15.03.2012

Law on Amending Certain Legislative Acts Regarding the Improvement of the Regulatory Approval System: Changes in the Environmental Code

The Law on Amending Certain Legislative Acts Regarding the Improvement of the Regulatory Approval System (aimed at liberalisation of business by reduction of administrative burdens and permits) became effective from 30 January 2012.

In line with GRATA Law Firm’s practice of keeping clients informed of important legal developments that might influence their business, we would like to draw your attention to changes in Kazakh legislation in connection with entry into force of the new Law on Amending Certain Legislative Acts Regarding the Improvement of the Regulatory Approval System.

I. OVERVIEW 

On the 15th July 2011 the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan signed the Law on Amending Certain Legislative Acts Regarding the Improvement of the Regulatory Approval System (hereinafter – the “Law on Amendments”), which became effective on 30 January 2012.

The Law on Amendments amended 54 Kazakh laws, including the Environmental Code, the Tax Code, the Land Code, the Code on Administrative Offences, the Law on Licensing, the Law on Architecture, Town-Planning and Construction Activity, the Law on Industrial Safety and many others.

Some of the most important changes introduced by the Law on Amendments to the Environmental Code are summarized below.

II. AMENDMENTS INTRODUCED TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL CODE

Differentiation by category of economic activity

The Law on Amendments provides a provision on differentiation of licensing by category of economic activity:

thus, a license for carrying out activity and rendering services in the sphere of environmental protection is necessary for rendering services on environmental design, normalisation as well as carrying out works in the sphere of environmental examination and environmental audit only for facilities of I category of economic activity.

Environmental Impact Assessment

The Law on Amendments excluded the requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for existing facilities – EIA is necessary only future activity of designed facilities.

The Law also establishes changes in stages of EIA – Assessment of Territory and Post-Project Analysis stages were excluded. EIA consists now of the following stages:

1)  preliminary EIA (stage 1);

2)  EIA (stage 2); and

3)  Section Environmental Protection (stage 3)

Development of normative emissions is required for EIA or Section Environmental Protection.

State Environmental Examination

The list of subjects of State Environmental Examination (SEE) was amended by the following projects:

  • State projects, sectional and regional programs with accompanying EIA documents;
  • projects based on contracts for carrying out operations on subsoil use; and
  • projects of scientific and technical-economic feasibility for development and expansion of specially protected natural areas, abrogation of state natural reserves and state preserved areas of  national status and decree of their territory.

The Law on Amendments excluded from the list the following:

  • projects of reconstruction with EIA documents for existing facilities;
  • schemes projects;
  • documentation substantiating issue of permits for use and (or) withdrawal of natural resources.

The periods of carrying out environmental examination were changed:

period of carrying out SEE shall not exceed 2 months for facilities of I category and 1 month for facilities of II, III and IV categories.

A period for carrying out repeated environmental examination was established:

period for carrying out repeated SEE shall not exceed 1 month for facilities of I category and 10 business days for facilities of II, III and IV categories.

The periods of carrying out preliminary examination were also changed:

period of carrying out preliminary SEE shall not exceed 5 business days from the day of submission of documentation.

Permits for emissions into the environment

The periods for application were established by categories:

for facilities of I category – not later than 2 months and for facilities of II, III and IV categories – not later than 1 month prior to permit expiry for emission or prior to commissioning of new facility.

The period of consideration of application was changed:

the application shall be considered by the authority which issued the permit for emission within 15 calendar days.

The periods of issuing permits were established by categories:

for facilities of I category submitted applications are considered within 2 months from the day of application registration and for facilities of II, III and IV categories – within 1 month. Permit for emissions will be issued after consideration of an application.

Unified period of validity of permits without reference to the categories was established:

permits for emissions are issued for a period until changes are introduced to used technologies and conditions of nature use, specified in the permit, but not more than for 5 years.

Industrial Environmental Control (IEC)

The Law on Amendments excluded the requirement for approval of IEC program with an authorised body in the sphere of environmental protection.  

III. CONCLUSION

The Law on Amendments represents a significant step towards improvement of the existing permitting system of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The realisation of this Law will result in reduction of quantity of licenses and permits. The reduction of periods for which permits are issued and approvals of state bodies in the sphere of environmental protection will simplify the procedure of carrying out economic activity for many companies in Kazakhstan.

Zarina Syzdykova
Junior Lawyer
GRATA Law Firm

In order to receive more detailed information, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers in the following branch offices of GRATA Law firm:

Almaty, Licenses and Permits Department

Leila Makhmetova, Senior Lawyer

+7 (727) 2445-777 
+7 701 221-90-16
licenses@gratanet.com
lmakhmetova@gratanet.com

Astana, Licenses and Permits Department

Dina Zhuzdubayeva, Lawyer

+7 (7172) 689-929      
+7 701 786-58-64      
licenses@gratanet.com
dzhuzdubaeva@gratanet.com

Leila Makhmetova

Counsel, Director of Environmental Law Department