ISTANBUL ARBITRATION CENTER

The New Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation (“EIA Regulation” vor “Regulation”) concerning the urban planning and environment agenda was published in the Official Gazette numbered 29186 and dated 25 November 2014 and came into force as of the same date.

Environmental Impact Assessment which means to present potential damages to the  environment of an investment before starting to that investment and the assessment through the submission of the required documents stated in EIA Regulation is defined in the Article 4/1 of EIA Regulation as;

“Determining negative and positive effects of the projects planned to be realized, avoiding negative effects, or determining and evaluating precautions the measures to be taken to minimized the extent of damage to the –environment, chosen place and technological alternatives and studies on monitoring and controlling of the implementation of the Project”

The Article of 6/1 of EIA Regulation clearly stated the required document, which should be submitted by real person or legal entity investors for the assessment. According to EIA Regulation; if the related project is subjected to Environmental Impact Assessment found in EIA Regulation Annex 1, the EIA Application File and the EIA Report; if the project is one of the projects depend to Selection and Elimination Criteria application found in EIA Regulation Annex 2, the Project Promotion File should be prepared by the institutions/corporations authorized by the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning and submitted to related authority.

Two general results arise from the New EIA Regulation due to a general evaluation. The first is that the procedure of examination of projects has been simplified; and the second is that some of the ‘popular’ investment areas are excluded from the scope of environmental impact assessment.

In this context it is necessary to refer the following changes:

  1. In the New EIA Regulation, many investment areas such as Mass Housing Constructions under 500 houses, railway projects shorter than 100 km, Shopping Mall projects with 000 m2 and over, including parking garage, the solar power plants with 1 to 10 MW installed capacity, except the roof and facade systems, also wind power plants with 10 to 50 MW installed capacity are involved in the scope of Selection and Elimination Projects. As a result, the EIA process will not begin immediately for these projects, and the determination of which project will be subject to EIA will be done through the examination of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. 
  2. The hospitals and dialysis centre, which were subjected to EIA application under the Former EIA Regulation, are excluded from the scope of the New EIA 
  3. The New EIA Regulation brought a new notion as “acceptable negative effect level”. While in the Former EIA Regulation, it should be demonstrated that the project have no negative effect to environment, the New EIA allowed to start to the project in order that its negative effect is acceptable.

Even tough the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation has the discretion power for determining this acceptable negative effect level, the concrete criteria for identifying this level did not determined in the Regulation.

  1. Under the Former EIA Regulation, the Ministry or the Governorship was giving a maximum 90 days if all undertakings have not been fulfilled in EIA Report or Project Promotion However, in the New EIA Regulation, this maximum 90 days period is removed and the administration has the discretion power to determine an unlimited period. 
  2. The publication of the application file by the investor is no more mandatory under the New EIA Regulation.

Finally, it should be noted that the EIA Regulation introduces in our legislation firstly in 1993 and was amended 17 times in this period of 22 years. The main reason of these amendments is to resolve quickly the environmental bureaucratic problems of each period’s own investment areas. The practical effects of the New EIA Regulation, which brought many changes in operation, will be shown after 25 November 2014 until the next amendment.

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