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Chapter 46A

Environmental Law of the Slovak


Republic
Marek Prítyi,1 Kirk W. Junker**

I. INTRODUCTION
§ 46A:1 In general

II. OVERVIEW OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM


§ 46A:2 Nature of the legal system
§ 46A:3 Constitution
§ 46A:4 Governmental structure
§ 46A:5 Bodies of state administration in the eld of
environmental protection
§ 46A:6 —Ministry of the Environment
§ 46A:7 —Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
§ 46A:8 —The Slovak Inspectorate of Environment
§ 46A:9 —The Slovak Environmental Agency
§ 46A:10 —State Environmental Protection Agency of the Slovak
Republic
§ 46A:11 —Environmental Fund of the Slovak Republic
§ 46A:12 State administrative bodies in the environmental
protection eld at the local level
§ 46A:13 The Slovak Republic's Court System

III. THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC'S ENVIRONMENTAL


LAW SYSTEM
§ 46A:14 Overview
§ 46A:15 General legislation—Act on the Environment
§ 46A:16 —Environmental Impact Assessment
§ 46A:17 Sectoral legislation—Protection of land and nature
§ 46A:18 Protected areas
§ 46A:19 —Wild fauna and ora species protection

1
Lawyer, Slovakia; Research Associate, Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable
Development.
**Professor of Law, University of Cologne.

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Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

§ 46A:20 —Forests
§ 46A:21 Agriculture
§ 46A:22 Renewable energy
§ 46A:23 —Air quality
§ 46A:24 —Emission Trading Scheme
§ 46A:25 —Water
§ 46A:26 Waste
§ 46A:27 Cultural heritage

IV. PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS


§ 46A:28 Finding the law
§ 46A:29 Citizen groups
§ 46A:30 —Pezinok case
§ 46A:31 —The Lesoochranárske združenie VLK case

V. CONCLUSION AND BIBLIOGRAPHY


§ 46A:32 Conclusion
§ 46A:33 Literature
§ 46A:34 National law
§ 46A:35 International treaties
§ 46A:36 Jurisprudence
§ 46A:37 Legislation of the European Union
§ 46A:38 List of information sources and online databases

KeyCiteL: Cases and other legal materials listed in KeyCite Scope can be researched
through the KeyCite service on WestlawL. Use KeyCite to check citations for form,
parallel references, prior and later history, and comprehensive citator information,
including citations to other decisions and secondary materials.

I. INTRODUCTION
§ 46A:1 In general
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he nds it attached to the
rest of the world.”
-naturalist John Muir
As the famous words of John Muir imply, the natural environment
is entangled with humans and confronted with human activities.
Hence, as a part of the human world, the environment has become
the subject of legal regulation. Legal frameworks, governing the rela-
tionship between man and nature, have become a standard part of
legal systems in most countries.
This following is a basic overview of the environmental law of the
Slovak Republic. Beginning with a brief historical summary, the
46A-2
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:2

nature of the legal system and the state organizations are presented
generally, putting emphasis on the bodies of state administration that
have competencies in the eld of environmental protection.
First, taking into account the hierarchies of legal norms, environ-
mental protections enshrined within constitutional provisions are
presented. Consequently, diverse as the environment itself, legal
frameworks at the statutory level, subdivided according to the subject
matter of the legislation, are presented in more detail. Being part of
the administrative law branch, the environmental laws in the Slovak
Republic are not assembled in a dedicated code, but, rather, are
regulated in many dierent statutes. Attention is also paid to the
legislation at the level of the European Union, when it becomes ap-
plicable, inuencing the national law to a large extent.
With a hope to facilitate further legal research for practitioners or
academics having a deeper interest in this topic, useful references to
sources and legal databases concerning the law of the Slovak Republic
are added as well. Moreover, two case studies at the end of the chapter
aim to demonstrate the evolution of civic society and use of environ-
mental law in practice as well as the position of the environmental
law of the Slovak Republic. They are framed in the context of
European Union and international law.

II. OVERVIEW OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM


§ 46A:2 Nature of the legal system
The Slovak Republic is a relatively new country, the creation of
which as an independent and sovereign state, can be traced back to
1992–1993. The dissolution of the former Czech and Slovak Federa-
tive Republic was completed by formation of its two successor states,
the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
The Slovak Republic has a civil law system, inuenced to a large
extent by the German and Austrian legal orders, belonging thus to
German continental legal culture. The socialist legal culture shaped
the legal system from 1948 until 1989. European Union ascension
preparations in the 1990s, successfully completed in 2004, resulted in
a major inuence of European Union lawon that of the Slovak
Republic.1
Due to its nature as a civil law jurisdiction, the Slovak Republic
recognizes only written law as a formal legal source. The hierarchy of
the following formal sources of law dictates their legal force:
E Constitutional acts, adopted by a constitutionally mandated 3/5
of Parliament;

[Section 46A:2]
1
ALEXANDER, J.-GYÁRFÁŠ, J., Legal Research in Slovakia (Including a Brief
Description of Slovak Political and Legal System). Available online: http://www.nyula
wglobal.org/globalex/Slovakia.htm#legalsystem.

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§ 46A:2 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

E International treaties, to which Parliament has expressed its


consent, were ratied and promulgated in a manner laid down by
a law;
E Statutory acts adopted by a majority Parliamentary vote of those
present at the session;
E Derivative legislation, consisting of government regulations, gen-
erally binding regulations, resolutions of ministries and other
central bodies of state administration, acts of self-governmental
units and the binding regulations created both in state adminis-
trative bodies and at the local level.
The law of the European Union, as explicitly recognized in the Con-
stitution, has precedence over the laws adopted by Parliament. More-
over, international treaties on human rights, self-executing interna-
tional treaties and international treaties directly conferring rights or
imposing duties on natural or legal persons, and which were ratied
and promulgated in a manner laid down by law, enjoy precedence of
parliamentary acts.
With respect to case law, the Slovak Republic, being a civil law
jurisdiction, does not consider judicial decisions to be a binding source
of law. On the other hand, courts as well as legal practitioners still
have a tendency to cite case law when making decisions and solving
legal problems. The decisions of both the Constitutional Court and the
Supreme Court are particularly important in this regard.2

§ 46A:3 Constitution
The Slovak Republic's Constitution, adopted on September 1, 1992,
and eective on January 1, 1993, set the basis for the new state's
democratic and republican character, as well as for completion of the
complex social transformation following the 1989 disruption of the
Communist Party's dictatorial rule. The Constitution secured the
country's stability during the rst legislative period of the National
Council of the Slovak Republic (1994–1998), demonstrating its ef-
fectiveness as a barrier against the tendency to establish an authori-
tative regime.1
From the perspective of environmental law, Art.4 of the Constitu-
tion's General Provisions2 is of particular importance, as it stipulates
that mineral resources, caves, underground waters, natural healing

2
Ibid.
[Section 46A:3]
1
OROSZ, L., ÚstavnýsystémSlovenskejrepubliky—všeobecnácharakteristika,
hodnotenie, perspektívy, p. 48–49, in OROSZ, L. et kol., ÚstavnýsystémSlovenskejre-
publiky (doterajšívývoj, aktuálnystav, perspektívy), Košice, UPJŠ, 2009.Available
online: https://www.upjs.sk/public/media/1084/Zbornik25.pdf.
2
Title 1, Section 1 encompasses inter alia the fundamental principles, as e.g. the
democratic principle (Art. 2) or the unitarian principle (Art. 3), which dene the

46A-4
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:4

sources and streams are the property of the Slovak Republic. More-
over, among the constitutional rights listed, there exist also the rights
to environmental and of cultural heritage protection. According to
Art.44, every person shall have a right to the favorable environment
and a duty to protect the environment and foster cultural heritage,
whereas no person shall imperil or damage the environment, natural
resources and cultural heritage beyond the limits laid down by a law.
The scope of Art.44 also encompasses the state's duty to care for eco-
nomic exploitation of natural resources for ecological balance and an
eective environmental policy. The state shall simultaneously secure
protection of designated wild plants and animals. These constitutional
provisions provide the basis for detailed regulation in the form of
statutes and their legislation derived thereunder.
The Constitution also sets forth, in Art.55, a framework for the
Slovak Republic's economy. The pertinent provision makes a clear af-
rmation that a socially and ecologically orientated market economy
shall be established. Taking into account the constitutional basis of
the Slovak economy, as well as environmental considerations reected
in this provision, Art.55 is also of importance for public policy in a
wider sense.

§ 46A:4 Governmental structure


The Constitution of the Slovak Republic provides a democratic
foundation based on the division of powers into legislative, executive
and judicial branches.
The Slovak Republic's legislative body is the Parliament, called the
National Council of the Slovak Republic, consisting of 150 members
elected for four-year terms. As the legislative body, the National
Council of the Slovak Republic is solely responsible for the creation
and adoption of statutes.
The executive power is divided between the President, as the Slovak
Republic's Head of State, and the Government, as the supreme execu-
tive body of the Slovak Republic. The Government consists of Prime
Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers, and shall have,
inter alia, the power to issue regulations furthering the implementa-
tion of laws. Ministries, as central bodies of state administration, also
have the power to issue generally binding regulations and resolutions.
Currently, there are thirteen Ministries in the Slovak Republic; among
them is the Ministry of the Environment.1

character of State.
[Section 46A:4]
1
Act No. 575/2001 on the Organization of the Activities of the Government and
on Organization of Central State Administration, § 3.

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§ 46A:5 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

§ 46A:5 Bodies of state administration in the eld of


environmental protection
The Slovak Republic's main administrative environmental protec-
tion bodies are the Ministry of the Environment, District Oces and
the Slovak Inspectorate of Environment.1 This chapter also includes
other authorities with authority in the eld of environmental protec-
tion, such as the Slovak Environmental Agency or State Environmen-
tal Protection Agency, both created as specialized organizations for
the Ministry of the Environment. The Ministry of Agriculture and Ru-
ral Development may also be mentioned among the state environmen-
tal administrative bodies due to the fact that certain areas falling
under its competencies have major impact on the environment and
are interrelated with environmental issues.

§ 46A:6 Bodies of state administration in the eld of


environmental protection—Ministry of the
Environment
The Ministry of the Environment is a central state administrative
body responsible for environmental protection and development. Ac-
cording to § 16 of Act No. 575/2001 on the Organization of the Activi-
ties of the Government and on Organization of Central State
Administration, the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for
nature and landscape protection, water management, ood protection,
protection of water quality and quantity and its rational usage, sher-
ies (with the exception of aquaculture and sea shing) air, ozone layer
and climate protection, environmental aspects of planning, waste
management, assessment of environmental impacts, provision of a
unied information system on environment and area monitoring,
geological research and exploration, protection and control of trade
with endangered species of wild fauna and ora and regulation of
genetically modied organisms.1

§ 46A:7 Bodies of state administration in the eld of


environmental protection—Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development
Nevertheless, the primary function of the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development does not rest exclusively in the protection of
the environment, its subject matter jurisdiction concerns areas

[Section 46A:5]
1
Act No. 525/2003 on State Administration in the Field of Environmental Protec-
tion, § 1.
[Section 46A:6]
1
The Competences of the Ministry of the Environment. Available online: http://
www.minzp.sk/en/about-us/ministry-environment/ministry-environment-sr.html.

46A-6
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:9

inextricably connected with environmental issues. Hence, under the


competencies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
fall, inter alia, forest management, irrigation systems, shery and
hunting or biotechnologies.1

§ 46A:8 Bodies of state administration in the eld of


environmental protection—The Slovak Inspectorate
of Environment
The Slovak Inspectorate of Environment is an organization created
by the Ministry of the Environment, empowered to control and impose
nes in cases related to environmental protection. Moreover, it also
carries out administration in the eld of integrated pollution preven-
tion and control at the local level. Consequently, it not only imposes
nes and introduces coercive measures, but also issues integrated
permits and resolves complaints, notices and inputs from public,
organizations and other institutions of the state and municipal
administration. Its authority extends also over waste management,
water protection, air protection, biosafety1 and protection of land and
nature.2

§ 46A:9 Bodies of state administration in the eld of


environmental protection—The Slovak
Environmental Agency1
The Slovak Environmental Agency, created by the Ministry of the
Environment, functions as its specialist organization focusing on
environmental protection and landscape, in-line with the principle of
sustainable development.
The Slovak Environmental Agency is responsible for the realization
of environmental services and projects nanced by the Ministry of the
Environment as well as by projects funded by the European Union.
Hence, the scope of its competences also encompasses international
cooperation, monitoring and reporting duties towards the European
Union. Environmental services that the Slovak Environmental Agency
provides include Environmental Impact Assessments (hereinafter

[Section 46A:7]
1
Act No. 575/2001 on the Organization of the Activities of the Government and
on Organization of Central State Administration, § 9.
[Section 46A:8]
1
Mainly with respect to the use of genetic technologies and genetically modied
organisms.
2
Act on State Administration in the Field of Environmental Protection, § 9–10.
[Section 46A:9]
1
Slovenskáagentúraživotnéhoprostredia.Available online: http://www.sazp.sk/pu
blic/index/index.php.

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§ 46A:9 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

“EIA”), 2 prevention with respect to serious industrial accidents,


prevention and remedying of environmental damage,3 monitoring and
evaluation of environmental burdens, consultancy with respect to the
integrated prevention and pollution control. The Slovak Environmen-
tal Agency also serves, in cooperation with the Ministry of the
Environment, as a National Focal Point of the Kiev Protocol on Pol-
lutant Release and Transfer Registers to the Aarhus Convention on
Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and
Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (hereinafter referred to as
“the Aarhus Convention”). In this regard the Slovak Environmental
Agency cooperates with the Ministry of the Environment in order to
support the National Pollution Registry's functioning.4

§ 46A:10 Bodies of state administration in the eld of


environmental protection—State Environmental
Protection Agency of the Slovak Republic1
The State Environmental Protection Agency, located in Banská
Bystrica, is another organization created by the Ministry of the
Environment in order to provide and guarantee expertise in the
protection of land and nature, which includes the administration of
caves and the protection of freely living species and plants by the
means of the regulation of the trade with them.2 In order to realize its
expectations, the State Environmental Protection Agency collaborates
with scientic institutions in the eld of environmental protection as
well as speleology and aliated scientic disciplines, bodies of state
and municipal administration and universities, at the national as well
as international level.
Under the scope of its competence falls also the administration of
protected areas, such as national parks or protected landscapes. The
Regional Environmental Protection Agencies in Bratislava and in

2
Pursuant to the Act No. 24/2006 on environmental impact assessment which
transposes the respective Directives of the European Union No 2001/42/EC, 2009/
31/EC and 2011/92/EU.
3
It serves the implementation of the Directive 2004/35/EC on environmental li-
ability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage.
4
In order to contribute to the practical realization of the provisions of the Act No
205/2004 on collection, preservation and dissemination of environmental information.
[Section 46A:10]
1
Štátna ochrana prírody Slovenskej republiky.
2
Decision of the Minister of the Environment of the Slovak Republic No. 75/
2007, Art. 2. State Environmental Protection Agency activities contribute to the
realization of the provisions of the Act No. 543/2002 on the protection of nature and
land as well as provisions of the Act No. 15/2005 on the protection of freely living spe-
cies and plants and the regulation of the trade with them—pertinent law contributes
to the realization of the objectives of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

46A-8
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:12

Prešov, together with their departments in other towns, contribute to


the work of the State Environmental Protection Agency at the regional
and local levels.

§ 46A:11 Bodies of state administration in the eld of


environmental protection—Environmental Fund of
the Slovak Republic
The Environmental Fund of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter
“Environmental Fund”) is an organization administered by the
Ministry of the Environment. Its aim is to contribute to the state's
environmental protection eorts.1 The Environmental Fund's nancial
resources consist of, inter alia, nes imposed by the state administra-
tive bodies, European Union nancial resources, fees paid by private
entities and industries for discharging emissions in the air as well as
of the prots from auctions enabling businesses to buy allowances
within the emission-trading scheme.2
Financial resources within the Environmental Fund are intended
for the support of a wide range of activities, focusing on environmental
protection such as environmental education, support of the public
policy in the eld of environmental protection, environmental research
and support of environmentally friendly projects focusing, inter alia,
on emission reduction or introduction of renewable energy sources.3
This support is realized in two forms: rstly, in the form of a loan
that may be granted to applicants and, secondly, in the form of
subventions. With respect to subventions, one must consider that this
form of support is considered to be state aid. For this reason, laws on
state aid at the national level as well as at the European Union level
must be observed.4

§ 46A:12 State administrative bodies in the environmental


protection eld at the local level
The area of environmental administration at the local level falls—
after realization of the initial steps leading to the reform of the public
administration, which is to be completed by the year 2020—under the

[Section 46A:11]
1
Act No. 587/2004 on Environmental Fund, § 1.
2
Ibid., § 3.
3
Ibid., § 4.
4
Ibid., § 7–8; See also Act No. 231/1999 on State Aid; Council Regulation (EC)
No 659/1999 of 22 March 1999 laying down detailed rules for the application of
Article 93 of the EC Treaty; Commission Regulation (EC) No 794/2004 of April 21,
2004, implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 laying down detailed rules
for the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty.

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§ 46A:12 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

competence of the Ministry of Interior.1 The towns and cities enjoying


the status of “district” serve as the seats of District Oces, all of
which have specialized departments of the environment. District Of-
ces at the regional level2 are superior to District Oces located in
towns within the territorial jurisdiction of the pertinent regions. Thus,
the District Oces at the regional level serve as bodies of second
instance in appeals against (tribunal) decisions of the lower town
District Oces.3 Altogether, there are 72 District Oces in the Slovak
Republic.
The District Oces have a wide range of competencies at local level,
including, inter alia, competences in the elds of land and nature
protection, water management and protection, waste management
and air quality. 4 District Oces cooperate with and supervise
municipalities' activities in regarding environmental protection.5

§ 46A:13 The Slovak Republic's Court System


The Constitution guarantees the right to judicial and other legal
protections as one its basic rights. This right encompasses, inter alia,
a right of everyone to assert their rights in front of an independent
and impartial court. This also applies in instances where public
administrative bodies have allegedly deprived somebody's individual
rights, and they desire to have their case reexamined.1
The Slovak Republic has a system of courts of general jurisdiction
spanning three levels. District courts are the lower courts, holding the
authority to try proceedings in the rst instance. Regional courts
serve as appellate courts. The function of the appellate review court
rests with the Supreme Court. Hence, the Supreme Court never acts
as the court of rst instance.2
There are no specialized courts designed to deal solely with
environmental matters in the Slovak Republic. However, despite the
non-existence of “Green Tribunals,” cases concerning environmental

[Section 46A:12]
1
ESO—Efektívna, SpolahliváaOtvorenáverejnáspráva. Available online: http://w
ww.minv.sk/?eso-efektivna-spolahliva-otvorena-verejna-sprava.
2
The Slovak Republic is divided into 8 regions.
3
Act No. 180/2013 on the Organization of State Administration at the Local
Level, § 3–4.
4
Act No. 543/2002 on Land and Nature, § 64; Act No. 137/2010 on Air, § 25–26;
Act No. 223/2001 on Waste, § 70–71; Act No. 364/2001 on Water, § 60–61.
5
Act No. 525/2003 on State Administration in the Field of Environmental Protec-
tion, § 5.
[Section 46A:13]
1
Constitution of the Slovak Republic,Chapter II, Part VII, Art. 46.
2
The Court System in the Slovak Republic. Available online: http://wwwold.justi
ce.sk/a/wfn.aspx?pg=lb&htm=l4/crtsys.htm.

46A-10
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:15

matters are heard within the scope of administrative law jurisdiction.


The reason for this is the fact that environmental law falls under the
broader scope of administrative law. Cases regarding administrative
law are heard in the rst instance at Regional Courts, where special-
ized administrative law divisions have been established. Such
administrative law divisions exist at the Supreme Court as well.3
The court system's structure is complemented by the existence of
the separate Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court is an in-
dependent judicial body designed solely to protect constitutionality.4 It
has the authority to decide on lower legal norms' conformity with the
Constitution as well as deciding competence conicts between the
central bodies of state administration, making decisions concerning
individual citizens' complaints concerning violations of their constitu-
tional rights and interpreting the Constitution and constitutional
statutes.5 With respect to the environmental protection, the jurispru-
dence of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts of the Slovak Repub-
lic have signicantly contributed to the interpretation of the Aarhus
Convention.6

III. THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC'S ENVIRONMENTAL LAW


SYSTEM
§ 46A:14 Overview
The Slovak Republic's environmental law is not consolidated and
unied into one comprehensive code. Being part of the administrative
legal branch, its provisions may be found in a wide range of statutory
laws as well as in non-statutory legislation.
The statutory legislation may be divided into general and sectoral
legislation. In theory, the relationship between these two types of
legislation corresponds to that between general and special legislation.
For this reason, in cases concerning interpretation conicts between
sources of legislation, the maxim lex speciali derogate legi generali ap-
plies, that is, the special law takes precedence over the general law.1

§ 46A:15 General legislation—Act on the Environment


One of the rst laws adopted shortly after the fall of the totalitarian
regime, and representing a basis for the general environmental
legislation, is Act No. 17/1992 on the Environment.

3
Act No. 757/2004 on Courts, § 17, § 21.
4
Constitution of the Slovak Republic, Art. 124.
5
The Court System in the Slovak Republic. Available online: http://wwwold.justi
ce.sk/a/wfn.aspx?pg=lb&htm=l4/crtsys.htm.
6
See Uznesenie Ústavného súdu Slovenskej republiky I. ÚS 112/2014-182,
Uznesenie Ústavného súdu Slovenskej republiky III. ÚS 222/2014-21.
[Section 46A:14]
1
KOŠIČIAROVÁ, S., Právo životného prostredia, Eurokódex, 2009, p. 57.

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§ 46A:15 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

The preamble refers to the principle of sustainable development,


the right to the environment and to rights of future generations. It
species the basic terms of crucial importance for environmental
protection. So, it denes the environment as everything that creates
natural conditions for existence of organisms, human beings included,
and is a precondition for their further development.1 Environmental
pollution is dened as introduction of physical, chemical or biological
agents into environment as a consequence of human activity, which,
due to their nature or amount, is allochthonous for the environment.2
Furthermore, it species general principles of environmental protec-
tion, duties concerning the environmental protection, liability in cases
of environmental violations or information concerning the state of
environment.3 Even though these are further detailed by special
legislation, the Act on the Environment, as a general law in the eld
of environmental protection, might serve as an interpretation tool.4

§ 46A:16 General legislation—Environmental Impact


Assessment
Discussing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the Slovak
Republic is impossible without mentioning the state of aairs at the
European Union level. Since European Union law precedes that of its
member states, the Slovak Republic, being a Member State of the
European Union, is obliged to comply with European Union legisla-
tion as well as implementing it in its national law. Directive 2011/92/
EU, on the concerning assessments on the eects of certain public and
private projects on the environment1 and the Directive 2001/42/EC on
the assessment of the eects of certain plans and programs on the
environment have both become indispensable while discussing EIA.
Both of these directives were implemented by Act No. 24/2006 on the
assessment of eects on the environment.
The purpose of this law rests in ensuring a high level of environmen-
tal protection while contributing to the integration of environmental
aspects in preparation and adoption of strategic documents as well as
assessment of the proposed activities (enumerated in the attachment
to the law). These strategic documents and proposed activities shall
be evaluated with respect to their impact on the environment and it
presupposes adoption of measures aimed at preventing pollution and

[Section 46A:15]
1
Act No. 17/1992 on Environment, § 2.
2
Ibid., § 8.
3
Ibid., § 11–33.
4
KOŠIČIAROVÁ, S., Právo životného prostredia, Eurokódex, 2009, p. 58.
[Section 46A:16]
1
Recently amended by the Directive 2014/52/EU on the assessment of the eects
of certain public and private projects on the environment.

46A-12
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:16

damage to the environment.2 State administrative bodies, within the


EIA's competency, are the Ministry of the Environment and District
Oces.3 Characteristic for this procedure is the involvement and
participation of the public. This creates a tool designed to realize the
right to a favorable environment, as enshrined in the constitutional
provisions as well as in international agreements such as Aarhus
Convention.4
The term “strategic documents” refers to documents with plans and
programs nanced and prepared by public administrative bodies at
the central or local level.5 These documents focus mainly on the elds
of agriculture, forestry, shery, industry, energy, transport, waste
management, water management, tourism or urban planning.6
With respect to the strategic documents, it is important to mention
that their respective environmental authorities are already consulted
at an early stage. The person responsible for elaborating the strategic
document shall notify the relevant authority. In the case of the Slovak
Republic, the project often falls in the territorial jurisdiction of the
District Oce and its specialized department of environment, or the
Ministry of the Environment (e.g. in case of strategic documents with
transboundary elements). Many strategic documents represent in-
practice documentation concerning the urban planning procedure. The
plan or program shall then be made public, in order to enable public
comments, which may be from natural or legal persons as well as
from any civic initiatives.7 In cases where a strategic document
impacts a particular municipality, that municipality also takes part in
the consultations.8
The person responsible for strategic document elaboration shall
make an impact evaluation of the strategic document on the environ-
ment, thereafter integrating it into the strategic document's evalua-
tion report. These documents shall integrate comments from the
concerned parties, which are then evaluated by the respective
environmental authority.9 The strategic document's evaluation report
is then opened to consultations from the interested public as well as
concerned municipalities, in line with the aforementioned proceedings.
Consequently, the environmental authority may call upon an expert

2
Act No.24/2006 on the assessment of eects on the environment, § 2.
3
Ibid., § 54–56. Competences of the Ministry of the Environment and of the
District Oces as bodies of state administration in the eld of Environmental Impact
Assessment are regulated in detail in the pertinent Act.
4
Ibid. § 24.
5
Ibid., § 3.
6
Ibid., § 4.
7
Ibid., § 5–6.
8
Ibid., § 6.
9
Ibid., § 8–9.

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§ 46A:16 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

to provide an opinion, forming part of the strategic document's nal


opinion that which was compiled by the connected environmental
authority. In this nal opinion, taking into account both public
consultations as well as the expert opinion, the environmental author-
ity shall state whether it recommends the strategic document's
adoption. In the case of a positive recommendation, this nal opinion
shall serve as the basis for the strategic document's adoption.10 Even
after the strategic document has been adopted, its impact on the
environment must be monitored.11
The other sphere, the subjects of EIA proceedings, are the activities
enumerated in the attachment to the Act (e.g. coal mining, extraction
of oil and gas or automotive manufacturing).12 The reasoning for this
rests in the fact that these activities have, by their nature, a consider-
able impact on the environment. An environmental authority may ini-
tiate EIA proceedings with respect to an activity which is not listed in
the Act's attachment either upon its own initiative or when it receives
a reasoned and written incentive from the public or on its own
initiative.13 When evaluating whether an activity shall be subjected to
EIA, criteria such as the activity's scope, relation to other activities,
logistical requirements (e.g. natural resources needed in order to real-
ize the activity), the activity's environmental impacts, and health or
quality of life need to be taken into account at the beginning of the
procedure, within the so-called scoping stage.14 In some cases, the ap-
plicant may be required to submit a report evaluating the proposed
activity's impact on the environment.15 Moreover, the respective
environmental authority may also require elaboration of an indepen-
dent expert opinion.16 Following the scoping stage, the nal opinion,
supported by an expert, becomes binding for authorities empowered to
grant of certain permissions, e.g. such as building permits or permis-
sion within urban planning procedures.17 The nal opinion is thus an
indispensable precondition for granting permits and completing other
procedures, such as urban planning procedure.18 It is possible to ap-
10
Ibid., § 13–15.
11
Ibid., § 17.
12
Ibid., Attachment 8, List of the proposed activities subject to environmental
impact assessment.
13
In case of activities not listed in the Attachment 8, the Ministry of the Environ-
ment, not the District Oce, conducts the environmental impact assessment.
14
Ibid., § 29 and Attachment 10 to the Act. Process described in text is also
known as “scoping.”
15
Ibid., § 31.
16
Ibid., § 36.
17
Ibid., § 37–38.
18
Ibid., § 38.

46A-14
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:17

peal the nal opinion to the respective environmental authority and,


after the administrative remedies are exhausted, to a court.19
This eld of EIA encompasses public involvement at all stages, sim-
ilar to the publication of strategic documents. Thus, the respective
environmental authority is obliged to inform the public about activi-
ties falling under the scope of EIA and to provide all relevant related
information on its web page as well as physically on its ocial board.20
The public may express its concerns through written opinion. The
public may eventually also lodge an appeal against a nal opinion or
against a decision subjecting pertinent activity to EIA procedure.21

§ 46A:17 Sectoral legislation—Protection of land and nature


Protection of land and nature in the Slovak Republic is regulated by
statutory legislation sprouting from the Act on Land and Nature. The
state administrative bodies protecting land and nature are the
Ministry of the Environment, the State Environmental Protection
Agency, the Slovak Inspectorate of Environment, District Oces and
municipalities.1
The Act aords land and nature protection to legal and natural
persons for freely living species and plants, natural biotopes,
ecosystems, minerals, fossils, geological and geomorphologic forma-
tions as well as providing care for esthetics and use of land.2 The Act's
provisions make use of basic principles of environmental law, such as
the precautionary principle, when it requires that every person shall
proceed with necessary caution when performing activities having
potential to endanger, damage or destroy plants or species. State
administrative bodiesmust ban every activity potentially endangering
the existence of freely living plants and species. Construction of
electric power lines or buildings also calls for due caution.3
The law aims to preserve ecosystems in their natural state. Hence,
it restricts introduction of alien species and plants into the ecosystem
making such introduction conditional upon permission of the relevant
body of state administration, the Ministry of the Environment or
District Oces. It is only possible to issue such permission in cases
19
Ibid., § 29.
20
Ibid., § 24.
21
Ibid.
[Section 46A:17]
1
Act 543/2002 on Land and Nature, § 64.
2
Ibid., § 1.
3
Ibid., § 4.

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§ 46A:17 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

when the introduction of such species would not have deleterious ef-
fect on original species.4
The state administrative competencies in the eld of land and
nature protection are also reected in procedures aecting environ-
mental protection. Accordingly, their opinion is required in urban
planning procedure, or the issuance of some permits for building or
mining activities.5

§ 46A:18 Protected areas


The Act distinguishes ve levels of protection of the land. For the
rst, and lowest, level of protection, the basic principles and rules
mentioned above apply, such as the precautionary principle, for
example. This level of protection encompasses essentially the whole
territory of the Slovak Republic.1 Further, four levels of protection
gradually restrict human activities for the sake of environmental
protection in relation to the level of protection required.2
Higher levels of protection are, in practice, applied in the protected
areas. Protected areas in the Slovak Republic shall be gradually at-
tuned to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN)
categories of protected areas.3 Currently, there are eight categories of
protected areas in the Slovak Republic:
E Protected Landscape
E National Park
E Natural Reserve or National Natural Reserve
E Protected Precinct
E Natural Monument
E Protected Landscape Feature
E Protected Bird Area
E Municipal Protected Area.4
The Government of the Slovak Republic may essentially declare
protected areas through regulations.

4
Ibid., § 7a-7b.
5
Ibid., § 9.
[Section 46A:18]
1
Ibid., § 12.
2
Ibid., § 13–15.
3
International Union for Conservation of Nature's categories encompass Strict
Nature Reserve, Wilderness Area, National Park, Natural Monument or Feature,
Habitat/Species Management Area, Protected Landscape, Protected area with sustain-
able use of natural resources. Available online: http://www.iucn.org/about/work/progr
ammes/gpaphome/gpapquality/gpappacategories/.
4
Act 543/2002 on Land and Nature, § 17.

46A-16
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:18

Larger landscapes with ecosystems important for the preservation


of biological diversity may be declared protected with the second level
of protection.5
Larger landscapes with ecosystems not substantially altered by a
human activity of supranational importance may be declared national
parks. The national park category falls under the third level of
protection.6
An area may be declared a protected precinct in the case that it has
biotopes of European or national importance. Moreover, this kind of
protected area may be extended also to landscapes which are partially
products of human activity, such as botanical gardens. The level of
protection under which protected precincts fall may dier; it may
range from the relatively low, second level of protection to the high-
est, fth level of protection.7
Natural reserves are areas with size limited to 1.000 hectares, with
biotopes of European and national importance receiving the fourth or
fth level of protection. National reserves represent supra-regional
bio-centers and form the state's natural heritage; they may be declared
national natural reserves.8
Under the term “natural monument” are ecosystems of scientic,
cultural, ecological, aesthetic or landscape signicance with a size not
measuring more than 50 hectares. Similar to the case of a nature
reserve, sites may be declared to be national natural monuments if
they form a part of the Slovak Republic's national heritage.9
“Protected landscape feature” refers to a form of protection applying
to natural features fullling the functions of a bio-center, a bio-
corridor or interact in manners of local or regional importance. This
range of protection may, as in the case of a natural precinct,
encompass from the second level of protection up to the highest, fth
level of protection.10
Municipalities, not the Government, may designate areas of scien-
tic, cultural, ecological, esthetic or landscape signicance, not going
beyond 100 hectares, as municipal protected areas. Municipalities
determine the conditions of protection as well as their delimitation.
The land must either be on municipality property or subject to an
agreement with a land owner.11
The purpose of the protected bird areas lies in securing, inter alia,

5
Ibid., § 18.
6
Ibid., § 19.
7
Ibid., § 21.
8
Ibid., § 22.
9
Ibid., § 23.
10
Ibid., § 25.
11
Ibid., § 25a.

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§ 46A:18 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

biotopes, breeding places and resting places for migrating birds and
biotopes of birds of European importance. The list of these areas is
made by the Ministry of the Environment and thereafter authorized
by the Government in the form of a resolution. Consequently, the list
of protected bird areas is sent to the European Commission. These ar-
eas are afterwards declared to be protected bird areas by the Govern-
ment in a form of regulation.12
Areas of European importance host biotopes or species of European
importance. The list of these areas, later sent to the European Com-
mission for approval, is nalized by the Ministry of the Environment
in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture. The Government
must declare such areas protected within six years following the ap-
proval by the European Commission.13
In case it becomes necessary for the sake of their protection, areas
may be divided, depending on the state of the biotope's protection,
into four zones in the following manner: the fth level of protection
applies to zone A, the fourth level of protection to zone B, the third
level of protection to zone C and the fourth level of protection to zone
D.14
Land needs not be in the state's ownership in order to be declared a
protected area. Private landowners, whose land meets the criteria for
protected areas, may submit their project of protection to the respec-
tive District Oce and request that their land be declared a private
protected precinct, private natural reserve or private natural
monument. These private landowners must bear the costs of such
designations themselves.15
It follows from the aforementioned that the process of declaring a
piece of land a protected area requires a protection strategy that
needs to be submitted to the District Oce. The District Oce asks
the State Environmental Protection Agency to review the ecological,
economic and social impacts of the project, whereby the applicant has
the right to respond during such a review.
If the applicant is not also the owner of the land, the District Oce
shall notify the owner or administrator of the land, the respective
municipality and other relevant bodies of state administration.
Municipalities are obliged to inform the public about the project and,
thus, guarantee the public's rights with regards to access to
information.16
The owner or administrator of the land is obliged to inform the

12
Ibid., § 26.
13
Ibid., § 27.
14
Ibid., § 30.
15
Ibid., § 31.
16
This process does not apply to land in private ownership of in ownership of a
municipality.

46A-18
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:19

District Oce about the planned activities which may conict with
the project's protection conditions. In the case of the District Oce
recognizing that activities on the land contradict the objectives in
protecting land and nature, it may restrict, or even forbid, these
activities. If this ban or restriction results in limitations on the usual
cultivation of the land, the owners or administrators may then be
entitled to a legal claim thus aording potential monetary damages.17
On the other hand, the ownership or administration of land which
has been declared a protected area may result in its owner or
administrator being entitled to monetary relief from the state. The
purpose of such relief is to preserve the land and maintain it to a level
corresponding with its status as a protected area.18

§ 46A:19 Protected areas—Wild fauna and ora species


protection
The protection of land and nature would not be fully realized
without also focusing on protected species of wild ora, fauna and
minerals.
State administrative bodies in the eld of endangered species and
plant protection consist of the Ministry of the Environment (as a
central body of state administration), District Oces, the Slovak
Inspectorate of Environment, and Customs Oces.1 The Ministry of
the Environment determines which species, plants or minerals fall
under the category of protected species.2
In order to put this protection into practice, several common rules
apply. These rules encompass such things as the general obligation
not to disturb species, not to destroy their natural area, and not to
transport, sell or export the protected species, plants or minerals
without permission.3 Moreover, all persons, natural and legal, having
protected species or plants in their possession are obliged to keep re-
cords demonstrating, inter alia, the origin and manner of how they
were acquired.4
In regards to species and plants protection, Act No. 15/2005 on
Protection of Species of Wild Fauna and Flora by Regulating Trade
Therein is of particular importance. This Act incorporates provisions
of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Hence, it regulates specimen protec-

17
Act 543/2002 on Land and Nature, § 50, § 61.
18
Ibid., § 60.
[Section 46A:19]
1
Ibid, § 15–18.
2
Ibid., § 33.
3
Ibid., § 34–39.
4
Ibid., § 41–42.

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§ 46A:19 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

tion, freely living species and plants, trading in species, and the condi-
tions of trading in seal products.5 Similarly as in Regulation 338/97,6
incorporating provisions of CITES at the level of the European Union,
endangered species are divided into four categories (A-D) with cate-
gory A aording the highest level of protection. Category D activities
are only possible under the supervision of the Customs Oces.7 Fur-
ther, the export of certain categories of species is made conditional
upon the Ministry of the Environment's permission.8
Special rules apply to the import of species by scientic institutions;
however, this area is also supervised by the Ministry of the
Environment.9 Moreover, scientic institutions, museums of natural
science, botanical gardens and universities are obliged to keep records
of the species and plants in their possession.10

§ 46A:20 Protected areas—Forests


Protection of land and nature as well as forests is inextricably linked
with the protection of trees. The broad obligation not to destroy or
damage trees is supplemented by the landowner or administrator's
obligation to take responsibility for it. The felling of trees requires, in
many cases,1 prior permission from the respective state administra-
tive body (in most cases the respective District Oce). And it's a
precondition for permission is consideration of ecological and estheti-
cal aspects and impact on health that such felling would cause in par-
ticular cases. In areas with fourth and fth degree of protection, fell-
ing of trees is explicitly forbidden.2 Permission to fell trees is connected
with the obligation to plant trees in certain previously-determined ar-
eas in order to compensate for the loss, and at the applicant's expense.3
The Government of the Slovak Republic may declare cultural, scien-
tic, ecological or esthetical importance for protected trees. This may
also justify declaration of a protective zone, encompassing a radius of
at least 10 meters away from the tree. These protective zones fall

5
Act No. 15/2005 on Protection of Species of Wild Fauna and Flora by Regulat-
ing Trade Therein, § 1.
6
Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of December 9, 1996, on the protection of
species of wild fauna and ora by regulating trade therein.
7
Act No. 15/2005 on Protection of Species of Wild Fauna and Flora by Regulat-
ing Trade Therein, § 2.
8
Ibid.
9
Ibid, § 3.
10
Ibid, § 9–12.
[Section 46A:20]
1
With exceptions such as e.g. fruit trees in gardens or trees with the circuit of
the trunk not exceeding 40 centimeters. Ibid., § 47.
2
Ibid., § 47.
3
Ibid., § 48.

46A-20
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:20

under the scope of second level protection. Trees growing within


protected precincts, natural reserves or natural monuments cannot be
declared protected.4
Tree protection is also incorporated into the Act on Forests. Accord-
ing to this Act, “forest” refers to an ecosystem consisting of a forest
area with forest vegetation and its surrounding airspace, including its
ora and fauna, as well as soil with its hydrological and air regime.
Forest vegetation consists, inter alia, of trees, scrub forest and mixture
of both on forest areas.5
The state administrative bodies responsible for forest management
are the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak
Republic and District Oces. Within their competencies fall, inter
alia, means aimed at forest protection or restricting public access to
the forests.6
Forest areas must be used primarily to fulll normal forest func-
tions, including the benets which forests produce as a part of the
natural environment.7 An exception may be granted by the state
administrative body, whereby such exception shall be limited to what
is necessary and may be granted only in cases when it is not possible
to secure economic and social development in any other way.8 State
administrative permission is required also in cases concerning
construction or land use in the so-called forest “protective area.” This
area constitutes a radius of 50 meters from the forest boundary.9
Depending on their functions, forests are divided into the three cat-
egories of protective forests, forests of special use and economic
forests.10
The category of protective forests includes forests in locations that
are dicult to access, mountain forests which protect, inter alia, lower
situated areas and forests, forests reducing the danger of avalanches
and forests fullling functions of soil protection.11
Forests of special use fulll functions regarding water management,
forests with presence of protected species, forests on protected areas
or forests fullling signicant health, cultural or recreational
functions.12

4
Ibid., § 49.
5
Act No. 326/2005 on Forests.
6
Ibid., § 58.
7
Ibid., § 2, § 5.
8
Ibid., § 2.
9
Ibid., § 10.
10
Ibid., § 12.
11
Ibid., § 13.
12
Ibid., § 14.

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§ 46A:20 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

The primary function of economic forests rests in the production of


wood and related products.13
The precautionary principle nds its legal embodiment in the provi-
sions concerning forest protection. Hence, a forest owner or adminis-
trator is obliged to undertake preventive measures in order to prevent
forest damage as well as protect it from harmful pests. In the case of
damage, the owner or administrator is obliged to eliminate the
damage.
This obligation is applied only in areas with fth level protection
following an exception that may only be made by the respective body
of state administration in the eld of protection of land and nature. In
case this exception has not been granted, the State Environmental
Protection Agency is responsible for the elimination of whatever dam-
ages that may have been created.14
Monitoring forest health falls under the competency of the Forest
Protection Service. The forest Protection Service falls under the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development or an organization
created by the pertinent Ministry.15
As a precondition for public forest use, there exists an obligation to
respect and to protect the forests and their environments. For this
reason, the Act includes a list of activities that are essentially
prohibited in the forests. These encompass, inter alia, the prohibition
of open res outside of designated areas, the obligation not to disturb
the silence and peace in forests, and the obligation not to fell trees or
create waste dumps in forests.16
The mechanism aimed at securing sustainable forest care is the so-
called “Forest Care Program.” This program contains all relevant data
concerning forests, which may, inter alia, include data concerning
their exploitation or transportation networks connected thereto.17 This
program is regularly amended and is valid for a period of 10 consecu-
tive years.18

§ 46A:21 Agriculture
When talking about agriculture from the perspective of environmen-
tal protection, it is appropriate to mention the phenomenon of ecologi-
cal agriculture. In the Slovak Republic, this form of agriculture is
regulated by Act No. 189/2009 on Ecological Agriculture. The
competent bodies of state administration in this eld are the Ministry

13
Ibid., § 15.
14
Ibid., § 28.
15
Ibid., § 29.
16
Ibid., § 31.
17
Ibid., § 40.
18
Ibid., § 41.

46A-22
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:22

of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Central Supervisory


and Probative Institute of Agriculture (hereinafter “the Institute”).1
The Institute keeps records on ecological agriculture providers as well
as non-state inspection bodies.2 The Act introduces, inter alia, the
obligation to certify ecological agriculture products accordingly.3

§ 46A:22 Renewable energy


The intersection of agricultural and environmental protection elds
may be found to a certain extent under the renewable energy category.
The framework for renewable energy regulation is sourced in Act No.
309/2009 on Support of Renewable Energy Sources and Highly Ef-
cient Combined Production. This Act denes the term “renewable
energy” as a non-fossil source of energy, energetic potential of which
is sustainably or permanently renewed in a form of natural processes
or by man's activity. Such sources of energy include solar, water,
wind, geothermal energy,1 biomass2 and its products, biogas,3 bio
methane,4 aero thermal5 and hydrothermal energy.6
The Ministry of Economy bears the main responsibility for the
Slovak Republic's renewable energy eld.7 Under its authority falls
the introduction of biological fuels and liquids and their supervision,
as well as the supervision in the eld of emission reduction.8 The
State Energy Inspectorate has supervisory authority and power to is-
sue nes and penalties in cases of violations. 9 The Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development is responsible mainly for creating

[Section 46A:21]
1
Act No. 189/2009 on Ecological Agriculture, § 3.
2
Ibid., § 4, § 8.
3
Ibid., § 9.
[Section 46A:22]
1
Energy in a form of heat stored under earth's surface.
2
Biomass consists of, inter alia, agricultural products, plant substances or com-
munal waste capable of decomposing by the means of biological processes.
3
Biogas is made of biomass by the means of fermentation.
4
Bio menthane is a form of biogas parameters of which correspond to the
parameters of earth gas.
5
Energy in a form of heat stored in air.
6
Act No. 309/2009 on Support of Renewable Energy Sources and Highly Ef-
cient Combined Production, § 2a. Hydrothermal energy is a form stored in surface
waters.
7
Ibid., § 14.
8
Ibid., § 14a–14c.
9
Ibid., § 15.

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§ 46A:22 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

an organization that is authorized to administer and update databases


compiling areas reserved for sustainable production of biomass.10
The Act foresees the existence of the so-called national allocation
plan for energy from renewable sources, which stipulates national
goals with respect to the share of energy stemming from renewable
sources that are used in trac and in the eld of energy production
until the year 2020. This plan evaluates the impact of measures aimed
at energy eciency, concerning the end energy production, coopera-
tion between bodies at local, regional and state level that are aimed at
achieving pertinent goals, policies aimed at development and use of
biomass as well as the simplication of regulatory measures and
processes in the eld of renewable energy sources.11 The Ministry of
Economy updates the European Commission regarding the measures
taken to increase the share of energy stemming from renewable energy
sources and the volume of energy produced in this way.12
The support of energy production from renewable energy sources, or
by the means of highly-ecient combined production, will be ac-
complished in the following manner: energy production appliances
will either be integrated into the regional distribution network or
their access into the system will be facilitated.13 This form of support
refers to appliances irrespective of their performance.14 A dierent
kind of support does however depend on the appliances' performance.15
This other form of support may be secured through energy transmis-
sion by the operator of the regional distribution network into which
the appliance is plugged, for the price of so-called “energy for losses.”
This is enabled through additional payment or by taking over the
responsibility for deviation by the operator of the regional distribution
network.
As a precondition for granting the aforementioned support, an
energy producer must prove that its energy originates from renewable
energy sources or is made by the means of highly ecient combined
production. Their permission is received in the form of a yearly permit.
Further, the producer must provide the operator of the regional distri-
bution network, with whom he has a contract, with a character of
delivery and notify the Regulatory Oce for Network Industries of its
support and anticipated volume of delivered energy.16 The Regulatory
Oce for Network Industries may then issue a conrmation guaran-

10
Ibid., § 19 (b) (2).
11
Act No. 309/2009 on Support of Renewable Energy Sources and Highly Ef-
cient Combined Production, § 2 j.
12
Ibid., § 9 a.
13
Ibid., § 3 (1) a.
14
Ibid., § 3 (2).
15
Ibid., § 3 (3)-(6).
16
Ibid., § 4 (2); § 7.

46A-24
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:23

teeing that the energy was produced from renewable sources of energy
or in a form of highly ecient combined production.17

§ 46A:23 Renewable energy—Air quality


To enhance the quality of the environment would not be possible
without enhancing and securing air quality standards. The Slovak
Republic's core instrument designed to meet this objective, by regulat-
ing and supervising the amount of pollution in air, is Act No. 137/
2010 on Air. The subject of regulation and protection is the air within
the troposphere, not indoor air.1
The midlevel state administrative bodies in the eld of air quality
are the Ministry of the Environment and its organizations, the Slovak
Inspectorate of Environment and, at the local level, District Oces
and municipalities.2
As one of its main objectives, the Act mentions requiring higher
standards of air quality and its evaluation through which the
pertinent information shall be made available to the public at all
stages.3 As similarly seen in the case of EIA, public involvement
reects the inuence of European Union law and the Aarhus
Convention.
The Act denes two pollution sources deteriorating the air quality:
stationary and mobile sources. The Act's denition of stationary
sources includes technological units, waste dumps, quarries or other
areas where burning, steaming or a dust outlet may exist. Further-
more, stationary sources also include construction projects or other
objects polluting the environment.4 Stationary sources may be divided
into big, middle and small sources, depending upon their inuence on
the environment and the extent of pollution they produce. This
categorization determines the nature of obligations that shall be
imposed on owners of stationary sources.5 Mobile sources are ap-
paratuses with engines that have a potential to pollute the
environment.6
Whether the level of pollution generated by stationary sources is
permissible, shall be determined by emission limits, technical require-

17
Ibid., § 7a (1); § 8, § 8 (a).
[Section 46A:23]
1
Act No. 137/2010 on Air, § 2 (a); KOŠIČIAROVÁ, S., Právo životného prostredia,
Eurokódex, 2006, p. 253.
2
Act No. 137/2010 on Air, § 22.
3
Ibid., § 1 (1)(a).
4
Ibid., § 3 (1)(a).
5
Ibid., § 3 (2)(a); Regulation of the Ministry of the Environment No. 706/2002;
KOŠIČIAROVÁ, S., Právo životného prostredia, Eurokódex, 2006, p. 254.
6
Ibid., § 3 (1)(b).

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§ 46A:23 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

ments and conditions for operation of stationary sources, and emis-


sion permit limits.7 Emission limits, as well as technical requirements
and conditions for operation of stationary sources, depend on the stan-
dards created and oered by the best available technology. They set
the minimum standards for stationary source operation.8
National emission limits are dened by the maximum amount of
polluting substance that is permitted to be emitted in to the air from
all sources in the Slovak Republic, within a one-year period.9 Several
international treaties serve as a basis for determining national emis-
sion limits for air quality. These have been ratied by the National
Council of the Slovak Republic.10 In order to meet national emission
limits, the Ministry of the Environment drafts a National Plan for
Emission Reduction, including, inter alia, measures to be taken as
well as means for their evaluation. The Ministry of the Environment
updates the National Plan for Emission Reduction in case further
emission reductions are required.11
The Ministry of the Environment publishes all information concern-
ing air quality, including the impact of individual polluters on overall
pollution.12 The same duty to publish air quality information also ap-
plies to District Oces within their respective territorial jurisdiction.13
The Act sets certain requirements for the quality of the information:
it shall be clear, comprehensible and available to the public.14
The territory, within which an evaluation and pollution measure-
ment should be carried out, is dened by pollution agglomerations
and zones with clearly dened limits for the amount of polluting sub-
stances in the air.15
Moreover, the Act denes areas requiring specic air protection.
These areas include air quality management areas,16 agglomerations
and zones of at least 50 square kilometers with polluting substances
in concentrations worsening the life of population, national parks,
protected landscape areas and bath areas.17 Whether an area falls
within the scope of an area requiring specic air protection falls under
the authority of that region's District Oces. Such a designation must

7
Ibid., § 4.
8
Ibid., § 4 (3).
9
Ibid., § 4 (4).
10
KOŠIČIAROVÁ, S., Právo životného prostredia, Eurokódex, 2006, p. 255.
11
Ibid., § 4 (9).
12
Ibid., § 6 (1).
13
Ibid., § 6 (2).
14
Ibid., § 6 (6).
15
Ibid., § 7 (2) (4a).
16
Oblast riadenia kvality ovzdušia.
17
Ibid., § 9 (1).

46A-26
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:24

be based on thorough evaluation and measurements.18 Consistent


with the principle of sustainable development, District Oces are
responsible for preserving the best possible air quality in agglomera-
tions and areas with generally good air quality.19
In case the amount of polluting substances in the air exceeds the
dened limits, the District Oce, in cooperation with municipalities
and concerned bodies of regional administration, is obliged to develop
a program in order to improve the air quality.20 The program shall be
open to public consultations for a 30 day period.21
If the air pollution limit were to be reached due to emissions stem-
ming from natural sources without any human intervention, such as
re, wind or volcanic activities, these values are not calculated as pol-
luting substances.22
District Oces are, inter alia, empowered to issue permits, allow
stationary source building, including their use and related
appliances.23 Furthermore, they are authorized to issue permits for
waste incineration plants, which must be inspected at least once every
seven years.24
The projects presented to District Oces by stationary source opera-
tors, waste incineration plants and further subjects requiring a permit
issued by District Oces, are evaluated through expert opinions
drafted by experts and organizations approved by the Ministry of the
Environment. This evaluation also includes emission measurements
for these sources.25

§ 46A:24 Renewable energy—Emission Trading Scheme


As a European Union member state, the Slovak Republic is part of
the EU Emission Trading Scheme, an instrument designed to combat
climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.1 Act No. 414/
2002 on Trading of Emission Quotas is the legislation in the Slovak
Republic referring to emission trading which serves to fulll European
Union requirements. This Act regulates emission trading between
entities registered in the Slovak Republic and entities in countries

18
Ibid., § 9 (3).
19
Ibid., § 10 (2).
20
Ibid., § 11 (6).
21
Ibid., § 11 (14).
22
Ibid., § 11 (16).
23
Ibid., § 18 (1).
24
Ibid., § 18 (9).
25
Ibid., § 19 (1).
[Section 46A:24]
1
The EU Emission Trading Scheme. http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets/inde
xen.htm.

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§ 46A:24 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

listed in attachment B of the Kyoto Protocol.2 The Ministry of the


Environment submits reports to the European Commission concern-
ing Act No. 414/2002 on Trading of Emission Quotas on a yearly basis.3
The Ministry of the Environment and District Oces are the state
administrative bodies in this eld. The Ministry of the Environment
serves as a central supervisory body and requires in a form of legally
binding rules, inter alia, national emission limits and district quotas
for the respective trading period.4 District Oces issue and administer
permits for plants taking part in the emission trading scheme and al-
locate emission allowances.5
An entity or a person operating plants producing greenhouse gas
emissions or polluting substances is required to apply for a permit at
the respective District Oce. A requested permit is issued when the
applicant meets the requirements for monitoring of greenhouse gases
and polluting substance emissions and submits reports in this regard.6
Plants involved in activities listed in the attachment C of Act No.
414/2002 on Trading of Emission Quotas with the necessary permits
and allocated emissions allowances are obliged to participate in the
Emission Trading Scheme.7 Participation in the Emission Trading
Scheme is a precondition for trading with emission allowances. For
this reason, entities that are dierent from those listed in the attach-
ment C may also apply to register in the Emission Trading Scheme.8
Certain amounts of non-refundable emission allowances will be al-
located to all participants in the Emission Trading Scheme automati-
cally for every eighth year of the trading period.9
Emission allowances, not allocated in this manner, as well as emis-
sion allowances from the reserve of the European Union are traded at
auctions.10 Prots resulting from the auctions are used to fund the
Environmental Fund.11 The Central Bank of the Slovak Republic has
supervisory authority over these auctions.
The Ministry of the Environment administers and supervises the
emission trading of polluting substances by the means of a registry
that accounts for all participants in the emission trading scheme. In

2
Apart from European countriesthis Attachment includes also counties such as
Australia or Russian Federation.
3
Ibid., § 32.
4
Act No. 414/2002 on Trading of Emission Quotas, § 26.
5
Ibid., § 27.
6
Ibid., § 3–5.
7
Ibid., § 8 (1).
8
Ibid., § 8 (3).
9
Ibid., § 10 (1).
10
Ibid., § 18 (1).
11
Ibid., § 18 (6).

46A-28
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:25

this way, it is possible to control and supervise the transfer of emis-


sion allowances.12
The emission allowances issued for greenhouse gases may be
transferred between participants in the emission trading in the Slovak
Republic as well as between foreign participants within Emission
Trading Scheme in the European Union.13

§ 46A:25 Renewable energy—Water


Water protection is regulated by Act No. 364/2004 on Water. The
bodies of state administration in this eld are the Ministry of the
Environment, District Oces, the Slovak Inspectorate of Environ-
ment, municipalities and the Ministry of Agriculture with respect to
agricultural land.1
Water is dened as an environmental substance that is a necessary
precondition for life and has at the same time its strategic importance
for security of the State, lack of which may endanger life and health
of a population or prevent the State from fullling its basic functions.2
This denition combines the environmental protection imperative
with the strategic interests resting in the functionality and security of
the State.
The Act divides water into two categories: surface and groundwater.3
The groundwater is preferentially used as a source of drinking water.4
The surface water is intended for other purposes, such as transport or
recreation. The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for moni-
toring the quality, regimes and elements inuencing the quality of
water. A part of this process also requires an evaluation of the state of
water.5 Taken together, it serves as a precondition for regulation for
sustainable water use, its protection and management as well as for
the preparation of water policies and related reports.6
The amount of polluting substances in the water is not permitted to
exceed certain limits set by the law. The list of polluting substances
and their indicators is updated as necessary.7
The Act also includes a list of environmental objectives concerning
water protection and its sustainable use. These objectives are speci-

12
Ibid., § 19.
13
Ibid., § 20.
[Section 46A:25]
1
Act No. 364/2004 on Water; § 58, § 64.
2
Ibid, § 1 (1).
3
Ibid.; § 3 (1), § 4b (1)
4
Ibid; § 3 (2).
5
Ibid.; § 4c.
6
Ibid.; § 4 (1), (4), § 4a.
7
Ibid.; § 4c (11)-(18).

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§ 46A:25 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

cally determined for each of the categories, including surface water,


groundwater and protected areas which are divided into subcategories
based on the nature of the water use and specically determined need
for protection.8 These subcategories include drinking water, water for
bathing purposes, water irrigation or water suitable for life and sh
reproduction.9 Particular environmental objectives include taking
measures to prevent surface water contamination, protection,
improvement and restoration of water aiming to achieve satisfactory
water conditions, prevention of groundwater pollution by polluting
substances or gradual cessation of human activities which also may
contribute to water pollution.10
For the purposes of water management, the Slovak Republic's terri-
tory is divided into administrative areas for the Danube and Visla
river basins. Most of the rivers belong to the Danube river basin and,
thus, are in the Black Sea's watershed. The rivers in the north belong
to the Visla river basin and are within the Baltic Sea's watershed.11 A
specic river-basin management plan is required for the rivers in
each of these river-basins.12
The Ministry of the Environment, with other respective bodies of
state administration, creates the Water Plan of the Slovak Republic,
forming a part of the International Management Plans concerning the
Danube and Visla river basins. The Water Plan of the Slovak Repub-
lic is a planning document aiming to improve and protect water and
related ecosystems as well as their sustainable use. It is updated and
re-evaluated every six years,13 and is based on results of water moni-
toring, as well as evaluating the state of the aforementioned water
and environmental objectives. Measures aimed at achieving environ-
mental objectives must be realized within three years of adoption by
the Water Plan of the Slovak Republic.14
The Act also includes a set of obligations with respect to water
protection. Along with the general obligation to make a reasonable ef-
fort in preserving and protecting water, there are several obligations
imposed specically on agricultural and forest land owners, as the
activities there might have negative environmental consequences.15
Moreover, it introduces the concept of water management areas,
which may be declared by the Government after showing that an area
accumulates signicant amounts of water due to its natural conditions.

8
Ibid., § 5 (1).
9
Ibid., § 7–§ 10.
10
Ibid., § 5 (2), (3).
11
Ibid., § 11 (4)–(5).
12
Ibid, § 13.
13
Ibid, § 14.
14
Ibid., § 15.
15
Ibid., § 30.

46A-30
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:26

Only activities satisfying the water protection objectives may be


performed in such an area.16
Water supply sources enjoy similar protection. Based on a state
health protection opinion, District Oces may declare water supply
source areas protected in order to preserve sucient and required
quality of water.17 They may range from zone 1 to zone 3, depending
on the need for protection.
Further categories include sensitive and vulnerable areas. Sensitive
areas include water areas that have deteriorated water quality and
water areas requiring a higher degree of purication from polluting
substances.18 Vulnerable areas include mostly agricultural land. This
is because through the rainfall, the polluting substances may pene-
trate into water sources on the surface as well as into the
groundwater.19
The Act includes a detailed regulation concerning waste water
releases into surface water sources, groundwater and public canals.
As a basic rule, waste water discharges into surface water require
treatment but the type of treatment may dier according to the size of
receiving water.20
Releasing waste water into groundwater is permitted if previous
expert opinions and permits from the District Oce are obtained,
whereas the release of any polluting substances containing dangerous
substances is strictly forbidden.21

§ 46A:26 Waste
The topic of waste and waste management is regulated through Act
No. 79/2015 on Waste. The main bodies of state administration in this
eld are the Ministry of the Environment, the Slovak Inspectorate of
Environment and the District Oces. Administration in this eld also
falls under the competence of municipalities, the Slovak Trade
Inspectorate, the Customs Oces and the Tax Revenue Oces.1
The statute denes waste as a movable thing or substance that its
holder wants to dispose of or is obliged to dispose of. If a substance or
movable thing can be characterized as an accessory product, a recycled
item ready for further use or a waste meant for use in households,

16
Ibid., § 31.
17
Ibid., § 32.
18
Ibid., § 33.
19
Ibid., § 34.
20
Ibid., § 36.
21
Ibid., § 37.
[Section 46A:26]
1
Act No. 79/2015 on Waste, § 104.

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§ 46A:26 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

then it is not considered to be waste.2 Waste management is dened


as the activity preventing and restricting the creation of waste and
reducing its danger to the environment.3 The originator of the waste
is the person whose activity led to its creation or a person who adjusts,
mixes or processes waste in any other way, leading to a change in the
qualities or composition of waste.4
The Act introduces a hierarchy of waste management principles
beginning with the most essential priorities. The most essential is the
prevention of waste formation. Prevention includes measures to be
taken by originator of waste before a substance or product becomes a
waste as well as measures that decrease the amount of waste, adverse
eects of waste on the environment or health or the content of harm-
ful substances in products. Further priorities, in decreasing order are:
Preparation for further use; recycling; other forms of valuation, e.g.
energetic valuation; and disposal.5
Obligations of a holder of waste include processing of waste accord-
ing to this hierarchical set of priorities.6
The Ministry of the Environment develops programs for waste
prevention for 10-year periods, subject to EIA. Consequently, the
program must be adopted by the Government. One of the main aims
of the programs is to eliminate negative consequences of economic
growth on the environment. Adopted programs are published on the
Ministry of the Environment's website.7
Apart from the program for waste prevention, the Ministry of the
Environment also develops waste management programs for a period
of 10 years, in the same way as the programs for waste prevention.
They contain a characterization of the current waste management
state, its future prospects, information about waste, and measures or
methods of processing waste. Within three months of this program's
adoption, the regional District Oces are required to elaborate upon
and prepare waste management programs for their respective regions.8
Municipalities with yearly waste production exceeding 100 tons or
with a population exceeding 1000 people shall also develop similar
programs.9
The Act imposes further obligations on people concerning waste
processing. A general prohibition prevents people from processing
waste in a manner potentially endangering health or environment.

2
Ibid., § 2 (1)–(2).
3
Ibid., § 3 (1).
4
Ibid., § 4 (1).
5
Ibid., § 6.
6
Ibid., § 14.
7
Ibid., § 7.
8
Ibid., § 9.
9
Ibid., § 10.

46A-32
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:26

Specically, waste processing shall not lead to water, air or land pol-
lution, nor is it permitted to endanger the lives of plants and animals.
Furthermore, it shall not cause unnecessary noises or smells or have
negative eects on land or places of particular concern, such as
protected cultural heritage sites. These obligations, including also the
obligation to cover the cost of waste processing, shall apply to origina-
tor of waste or to the last holder of waste.10
If waste was unlawfully placed on a piece of land, its owner,
administrator or tenant is obliged to notify the District Oce or
municipality. The District Oce is then responsible for investigating
the matter as well as for determining whether this activity amounts
to a criminal oense,11 and determining the person responsible. If it
constitutes a criminal oense, the respective body of state administra-
tion shall draft a report and refer the matter to the police.
The person deemed to be responsible by the District Oce then has
an obligation to remove and dispose of waste. In case responsibility is
not determined, a respective body of state administration or a
municipality is responsible for disposal if it is consequently character-
ized as communal waste.12
The Act also regulates the waste dump operators' businesses as
well as that of waste collectors and disposal businesses and, thus,
prevents the existence of illegal waste dumps along with the practice
of illegal waste disposal.13 It also provides a framework for regulating
hazardous waste 14 processing and specic designations of waste
therein, such as electronic waste, 15 packaging, 16 cars 17 or tires. 18
Persons seeking to carry out activities related to these types of waste
need a specic permit issued by the Ministry of the Environment.19
A part of the Act is dedicated to communal waste, originating
mainly from households in the municipality. For waste processing and
recycling, the municipalities shall be responsible. Municipalities are
also responsible for container and bin organization. This is regulated
in detail through city council regulations.20
Transboundary waste transfer is supervised by the Ministry of the

10
Ibid., § 12.
11
Unlawful processing of waste is a criminal oence pursuant to § 15 of the
Criminal Code of the Slovak Republic.
12
Ibid., § 15.
13
Ibid., § 16–19.
14
Ibid., § 25.
15
Ibid., § 32–51.
16
Ibid., § 52–59.
17
Ibid., § 60–68.
18
Ibid., § 69–71.
19
Ibid., § 90.
20
Ibid., § 81.

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§ 46A:26 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

Environment. The Ministry of the Environment must be duly notied


of any expected, upcoming transfers. Waste imports from other
countries are generally prohibited, except for situations when an
international treaty expressly allows it. As an underlying principle,
waste which originated in the territory of the Slovak Republic shall
also be destroyed within the same territory.21

§ 46A:27 Cultural heritage


The Slovak Republic, like most countries, is a Party to the Conven-
tion Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural
Heritage (hereinafter “Convention”), combining environmental protec-
tion with cultural protection. Cultural protection encompasses three
categories of natural heritage: natural features; geological and
physiographical formations; and natural sites.1
The Slovak Republic has two natural sites enumerated in the United
Nations Educational, Scientic and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
List of World Heritage Sites. One of them is the cave system of Slovak
Karst and Aggtelek Karst. The other one, the Primeval Beech Forests
of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany, is
shared jointly by the Slovak Republic, Ukraine and Germany.2 Provi-
sions of the Convention are also reected in the Declaration of the
National Council of the Slovak Republic from February 28, 2001. This
declaration makes a direct reference to the Convention as well as to
the Art.44 of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, including rights
and obligations aiming to protect cultural heritage. It stresses the
idea of cultural heritage being a matter of public interest, protection
of which presupposes the respect for individual rights and freedoms.3
The binding legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage
in the Slovak Republic is Act No. 49/2002 on Protection of Cultural
Heritage, which regulates mainly cultural heritage protection, not
natural sites. The state administrative bodies in this eld are the
Ministry of Culture, the Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic
and regional Monuments Boards.4 Regions and municipalities possess
regulatory power here, as they do for natural site protection.5
Even though Act No. 49/2002 on Protection of Cultural Heritage

21
Ibid., § 86.
[Section 46A:27]
1
Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heri-
tage, Art. 2.
2
Elements of the World Heritage List; Available online: http://www.unesco.sk/e
n/elements-on-the-world-heritage-list.
3
Declaration of the National Council of the Slovak Republic on Protection of
Cultural Heritage from 28, February 2001, Art. 3.
4
Act No. 49/2002 on Protection of Cultural Heritage, § 3.
5
Ibid., § 13–14.

46A-34
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:28

refers mainly to man-made monuments and archeological sites,


municipalities may also list monuments that are joined works of man
and nature.6 The explicit natural heritage protection in the Slovak Re-
public is guaranteed primarily through the aforementioned Act 543/
2002 on Land and Nature.7

IV. PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS


§ 46A:28 Finding the law
It is possible to nd the relevant law in the Slovak Republic through
online databases, which are available primarily in the Slovak
language.
The most popular, available free of charge and operated by the
Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic, are Slov-Lex1 and JASPI;2
these include consolidated versions of laws and jurisprudence. Paid
databases, providing access to laws and jurisprudence, include Collec-
tion of Laws,3 ASPI4 and—especially valuable from the perspective of
environmental law—AllData, which is a database of environmental
legislation.5
The decisions of the Slovak Republic's Constitutional Court are
published in the ocial record of the Slovak Republic Constitutional
Court, which has also an electronic version.6
Supreme Court decisions are published in the Collection of Deci-
sions and Positions of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic,
which is published both in printed andelectronic forms.7
Some of the major legal journals and reviews include “Justičná
Revue,” published by the Ministry of Justice or “Právny obzor,”8
concerning mainly theoretical governance and legal issues. It is
published by the Institute of Law and State of the Slovak Academy of
Sciences. Also worthy of mention is “Bulletin Slovenskej advokácie,”9
a monthly journal published by the Slovak Bar Association and “Právo

6
§ 14 (5), Ibid.
7
Discussed in detail in Sec. 2.2.1–2.2.1.3.
[Section 46A:28]
1
https://www.slov-lex.sk/domov.
2
http://jaspi.justice.gov.sk/jaspiw1/jaspiwminifr0.htm.
3
http://www.zbierka.sk/.
4
http://www.wolterskluwer.sk/sk/system-aspi/o-aspi.c-24.html.
5
http://www.alldata.sk/dtbpredpisy.html.
6
http://www.concourt.sk/zbierka.do?idsubmenu=f&rok=2008&lang=s&part=.
http://www.concourt.sk/search.do?idsubmenu=c
7
http://www.supcourt.gov.sk/zbierka-stanovisk-a-rozhodnuti/.
8
http://www.pravnyobzor.sk/.
9
https://www.sak.sk/blox/cms/sk/sak/bulletin/aktualnecislo.

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§ 46A:28 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

pre ROPO a OBCE v praxi,”10 a journal dedicated to public administra-


tive law.
The law blog “Lexfórum”11 provides a valuable database and forum
for discussion about new developments in Slovak, Czech and European
law.
“Otvorené súdy (Open Courts),”12 is an interesting database of
judicial decisions. The NGO Transparency International provides it
via an internet portal. Its aim is to improve transparency and enhance
accountability in the Slovakian judiciary.

§ 46A:29 Citizen groups


Despite the fact that environmental issues were not in the forefront
of public attention before the Velvet Revolution in year 1989, public
awareness for environmental issues has continuously grown and
evolved. The public, included mainly through citizens' initiatives and
represented by specialized NGOs—has taken an active part in the
process of promoting environmental protection and solving environ-
mental issues by the means of litigation as well as by making use of
political rights.

§ 46A:30 Citizen groups—Pezinok case


One of the landmark cases on this topic is the so-called Pezinok
case, which also had a sequel before the European Union Court of
Justice. The Pezinok case contributed to the public's right to partici-
pate in the decision-making procedure.
The case concerned a landll created near residential areas in the
town of Pezinok, resulting in environmental and health risks for the
town's citizens. The Pezinok landll plan located it near an older
landll that had previously been built without a necessary building
permission, and existence of which violated legal safety standards.
The required urban planning decision authorizing the establishment
of a “new” landll was issued contrary to the urban plan, while not
considering the public's right to participate in the urban planning
procedure. The landll's construction was authorized without rst
having the urban planning decision published, which was required by
the law. Nevertheless, administrative bodies at the higher appellate
level conrmed the decision. Consequently, activists representing the
interests of citizens of the town of Pezinok brought the action before
the Slovakian courts. Their claim went to the Constitutional Court,
which controversially ruled in favor of the landll developer referring,
inter alia, to developer's property rights. The Supreme Court referred

10
http://www.wolterskluwer.sk/sk/pravo-pre-ropo-a-obce-v-praxi.p133.html.
11
http://www.lexforum.cz/.
12
http://otvorenesudy.sk/.

46A-36
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:31

the case to the European Union Court of Justice for a preliminary rul-
ing, requesting an interpretation of the Aarhus Convention and re-
spective European Union legislation.
The European Union Court of Justice claried that urban planning
decisions must be made public, and protection of commercial or
industrial information does not serve as a justication for failure to
disclose. Further, the Court of Justice reiterated that the public must
have access to all relevant information from the beginning of the
administrative procedure, even before such decision has been adopted.
The Court of Justice stated that, pursuant to the provisions of the
integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) Directive,1 the
public should have a right to request interim measures designed to
prevent the polluting activity and identied the temporary suspension
of the requested permit as the appropriate legal mechanism to employ
in the meantime. Further, the Court ruled that a national court's de-
cision to annul a permit would not constitute an unjustied interfer-
ence with a developer's property rights, when the permit issuance
violated the provisions of the IPPC Directive.2
The legal battle has been supplemented by local campaigns and
demonstrations in Pezinok and before decision-making and judicial
bodies, such as the Ministry of the Environment and the Constitu-
tional Court. Hence, it represents one of the most important examples
of civic engagement in the most recent history of the Slovak Republic,
while also raising public awareness to issues concerning health and
the environment.3

§ 46A:31 Citizen groups—The Lesoochranárske združenie


VLK case
This case concerned a legal dispute between the association
“Lesoochranárske združenie Vlk” (“VLK”), an organization focused on
environmental protection, and the Ministry of the Environment. Simi-
lar to the Pezinok case, this dispute also landed before the Supreme
Court, which then referred the case to the European Union Court of
Justice for a preliminary ruling. The European Union Court of
Justice's ruling has become one of the landmark cases concerning the
interpretation of the Aarhus Convention within the framework of
European Union law.

[Section 46A:30]
1
Directive 2008/1/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of January
15, 2008, concerning integrated pollution prevention and control.
2
Court of Justice of the European Union, Press Release No. 1/13, Judgment in
Case C-416/10 Jozef Križan and Others v Slovenská inšpekcia životného prostredia.
3
Pezinok Case. One of the most important cases of civic engagement in Slovakia
since the Velvet Revolution. Available online: http://www.viaiuris.sk/strankadata/su
bory/nastiahnutierozne/pezinok-case-jan-2013.pdf.

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§ 46A:31 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

The VLK case concerned specically Art. 9.3 of the Aarhus Conven-
tion, which grants the public access to administrative proceedings so
that it may challenge public authorities' acts and omissions that
violate national environmental law. VLK claimed that it should have
a “party” status, enabling it to access administrative proceedings that
concern the granting of derogations in the species protection system
such as that for the brown bear, which concern access to the
countryside or that concern the use of chemical substances in these
areas.1 Protection of species such as brown bear has been subject to
regulation at the European Union level in the form of the Habitats
Directive.2 The Ministry of the Environment rejected VLK's applica-
tion to be a party in these proceedings.3
The European Union Court of Justice's judgment implied that the
protection of species, in the form of substantive provisions in the
Habitats Directive, is incomplete without eective procedural rights
corresponding to the rights enshrined in Art. 9.3 of the Aarhus
Convention. The European Union Court of Justice concluded that
even though the wording of Art. 9.3 of the Aarhus Convention is rather
general, and thus not capable of conferring direct eect, its objective
is to enable eective protection of the environment. Hence, in the
absence of detailed legislation at the European Union level, it is for
the national legislatures to guarantee corresponding procedural rights
within their national legal orders, whereas judicial bodies shall
interpret provisions of the national law in the spirit of Art. 9.3 of the
Aarhus Convention. Thus, national courts are obliged to interpret
procedural rights within their national legal order in a manner en-
abling organizations, such as VLK, to challenge decisions following
administrative proceedings.4
As a consequence, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic an-
nulled the Ministry of the Environment's decision that excluded VLK
from the administrative proceedings. According to Sec.14 of the Act on
Administrative Procedure, a party to the proceeding is a person who
is a bearer of a legal right, legally protected interest or obligation
(resulting from the substantive regulation).5 The Supreme Court
concluded, inter alia, that in order to comply with the European Court

[Section 46A:31]
1
Court of Justice of the European Union, Judgment in Case C-240/
09lesoochranárske združenie Vlk v Ministerstvo životného prostredia Slovenskej
republiky, para. 20.
2
Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats
and of wild fauna and ora.
3
Ibid., para. 21.
4
Ibid., para. 54.
5
VOZÁR, I. The VLK Case. Application of Art. 9 Para. 3 of the Aarhus Conven-
tion According to the Decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Legal
Analysis, p. 9.

46A-38
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:32

of Justice's judgment, it is necessary to broaden the denition of a


“party” to the administrative proceedings by recognizing the same
extent of rights to other persons with an objective to ensure eective
protection of the environment.6 Such an extensive interpretation of
the national law by the Supreme Court enabled gaps in the national
legislation to be lled and made compliant with the requirements of
Art. 9.3 of the Aarhus Convention.

V. CONCLUSION AND BIBLIOGRAPHY


§ 46A:32 Conclusion
The Slovak Republic's body of environmental law is a dynamically
evolving and complex eld. It reects and implements the binding
obligations in international treaties and European Union legislation.
European Union law shapes the Slovak Republic's environmental law
to a large extent and is one of the decisive factors of its development.
At the same time, the European Union law sets certain boundaries for
the national legislatures and bodies of state administration, which
shall not be violated. The Pezinok and VLK cases, mentioned at the
end of the Chapter, demonstrate the benecial eect of European
Union law in the Slovak Republic's environmental protection regimes.
At the same time, the benets are reciprocal, as both cases contributed
to development of European Union law and, thus, to enhanced
environmental protection in the European Union as well.
As in many countries, there is also often a discrepancy between
legal rules and their practical applications in the Slovak Republic.
Powerful societal actors tend to exert their inuence in order to
interpret rules in their favor; the environmental law area is no
exception. A functioning and civic society provides a necessary
counterbalance to such tendencies. This proved to be a decisive factor
in the Pezinok case. As the society evolves, environmental issues have
gained more prominence serving as a reason to believe that this
development will continue.
To conclude, the Slovak Republic is not exceptional when compared
to the European Union or any other countries. It has a complex legal
framework, enabling the desired level of environmental protection,
simultaneously with certain challenges with its practical
implementation. The nature of these challenges often reects the
state of the society and the progressive interest for the environment
and public interest. In general, the challenges serve as a precursor to
the methods that shall later be developed to confront them.
6
Ibid.

K 2016 Thomson Reuters, 9/2016 46A-39


§ 46A:33 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

§ 46A:33 Literature

ALEXANDER, J.-GYÁRFÁŠ, J. Legal Research in Slovakia (Includ-


ing a Brief Description of Slovak
Political and Legal System), avail-
able online: http://www.nyulawglob
al.org/globalex/Slovakia.htm#legals
ystem

EUROPEAN COMMISSION The EU Emission Trading Scheme.


http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/et
s/indexen.htm

INTERNATIONAL UNION International Union for Conserva-


FOR tion of Nature's

CONSERVATION OF categories of protected areas. Avail-


NATURE able on: http://www.iucn.org/about/
work/programmes/gpaphome/gpa
pquality/gpappacategories/

KOŠIČIAROVÁ, SOŇA Právo životného prostredia,


Eurokódex, 2009

KOŠIČIAROVÁ, SOŇA Právo životného prostredia,


Eurokódex, 2006

MINISTRY OF THE The Competences of the Ministry.


ENVIRONMENT Available On: http://www.minzp.sk/
en/about-us/ministry-environment/
ministry-environment-sr.html

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE The Court System in the Slovak


Republic. Available online: http://w
wwold.justice.sk/a/wfn.aspx?pg=lb&
htm=l4/crtsys.htm

MINISTRY OF INTERIOR ESO—Efektívna, Spolahlivá a


Otvorená verejná správa. Available
online: http://www.minv.sk/?eso-efe
ktivna-spolahliva-otvorena-verejna-
sprava

46A-40
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:34

OROSZ, LADISLAV Ústavný systém Slovenskej


republiky—všeobecná
charakteristika, hodnotenie,
perspektívy, p. 48–49, in OROSZ,
L. et kol., Ústavný systém
Slovenskej republiky (doterajší
vývoj, aktuálny stav, perspektívy),
Košice, UPJŠ, 2009. Available
online: https://www.upjs.sk/public/
media/1084/Zbornik25.pdf.

SLOVENSKÁ AGENTÚRA Competences. Slovenská agentúra


životného

ŽIVOTNÉHO PROSTREDIA prostredia. Available online: http://


www.sazp.sk/public/index/inde
x.php

UNESCO Elements of the World Heritage


List; Available online: http://www.u
nesco.sk/en/elements-on-the-world-
heritage-list

VIA IURIS Pezinok Case. One of the most


important cases of civic engage-
ment in Slovakia since the Velvet
Revolution. Available Online on:
http://www.viaiuris.sk/strankadat
a/subory/nastiahnutierozne/pez
inok-case-jan-2013.pdf.

VOZÁR, IMRICH The VLK Case. Application of Art.


9 Para. 3 of the Aarhus Convention
According to the Decision of the
Court of Justice of the European
Union. Legal Analysis. Available
online: http://www.justiceandenviro
nment.org/les/le/2011%20ECJ
%20SK.pdf.

§ 46A:34 National law


Act No. 71/1967 on Administrative Procedure
Act No. 575/2001 on the Organization of the Activities of the Govern-
ment and on Organization of Central State Administration

K 2016 Thomson Reuters, 9/2016 46A-41


§ 46A:34 Comparative Environmental Law and Regulation

Act No. 525/2003 on State Administration in the Field of Environ-


mental Protection
Act No. 205/2004 on Collection, Preservation and Dissemination of
Environmental Information
Act No. 300/2005 Criminal Code
Act No. 587/2004 on Environmental Fund
Act No. 231/1999 on State Aid
Act No. 757/2004 on Courts
Act No. 180/2013 on the Organization of State Administration at
Local Level
Act No. 543/2002 on Land and Nature
Act No. 137/2010 on Air
Act No. 79/2015 on Waste
Act No. 364/2004 on Water
Act No. 15/2005 on Protection of Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
by Regulating Trade Therein
Act No. 24/2006 on the Assessment of Eects on the Environment
Act 543/2002 on Land and Nature
Act No. 17/1992 on the Environment
Act No. 326/2005 on Forests
Constitution of the Slovak Republic
Declaration of the National Council of the Slovak Republic on
Protection of Cultural Heritage from February 28, 2001
Decision of the Minister of Environment of the Slovak Republic No.
75/2007

§ 46A:35 International treaties


Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora
Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and
Natural Heritage

§ 46A:36 Jurisprudence
Court of Justice of the European Union, Press Release No. 1/13,
Judgment in Case C-416/10 Jozef Križan and Others v Slovenská
inšpekcia životného prostredia
Court of Justice of the European Union, Judgment in Case C-240/09
lesoochranárske združenie Vlk v Ministerstvo životného prostredia
Slovenskej republiky
Resolution of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic I. ÚS
112/2014-182
Resolution of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic III.
ÚS 222/2014-21
46A-42
Environmental Law of the Slovak Republic § 46A:38

§ 46A:37 Legislation of the European Union


Directives of the European Union No 2001/42/EC, 2009/31/EC and
2011/92/EU
Directive 2004/35/EC on environmental liability with regard to the
prevention and remedying of environmental damage
Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the eects of certain
public and private projects on the environment
Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the eects of certain
plans and programs on the environment
Directive 2008/1/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
of January 15, 2008, concerning integrated pollution prevention and
control
Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 of March 22, 1999, laying down
detailed rules for the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty
Regulation (EC) No 794/2004 of April 21, 2004, implementing
Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 laying down detailed rules for
the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty
Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of December 9, 1996, on the protection of
species of wild fauna and ora by regulating trade therein

§ 46A:38 List of information sources and online databases


https://www.slov-lex.sk/domov.
http://jaspi.justice.gov.sk/jaspiw1/jaspiwminifr0.htm.
http://www.zbierka.sk/
http://www.wolterskluwer.sk/sk/system-aspi/o-aspi.c-24.html
http://www.alldata.sk/dtbpredpisy.html
http://www.concourt.sk/zbierka.do?idsubmenu=f&rok=2008&lan
g=s&part=
http://www.concourt.sk/search.do?idsubmenu=c
http://www.supcourt.gov.sk/zbierka-stanovisk-a-rozhodnuti/
http://www.pravnyobzor.sk/
https://www.sak.sk/blox/cms/sk/sak/bulletin/aktualnecislo
http://www.wolterskluwer.sk/sk/pravo-pre-ropo-a-obce-v-praxi.p133.
html
http://www.lexforum.cz/
http://otvorenesudy.sk/

K 2016 Thomson Reuters, 9/2016 46A-43

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