Environmental Protection law (promulgated SG No. 91 of September 25, 2002, last amended and supplemented, SG No. 54 of June 16, 2020)This law regulates public relations related to:
• the protection of the environment for present and future generations and the protection of human health.
• the preservation of the biological diversity in accordance with the natural biogeographical characteristics of the country.
• the protection and use of the components of the environment.
• control and management of factors that harm the environment.
• exercising control over the state of the environment and sources of pollution.
• prevention and reduction of pollution.
• the establishment and functioning of the National Environmental Monitoring System.
• strategies, programs and plans for environmental protection.
• the collection and access to environmental information.
• the economic organization of the environmental protection activities.
• the rights and obligations of the state, municipalities, legal entities, and individuals for environmental protection.
The objectives of the law are achieved through:
• regulation of the regimes for protection and use of the components of the environment.
• control over the condition and use of the components of the environment and the sources of its pollution and damage.
• establishment of permissible norms for emissions and quality of the environment.
• management of environmental components and factors.
• performing an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
• issuing permits for prevention, limitation, and control of pollution.
• declaration and management of territories with special protection regime.
• development of the system for monitoring the components of the environment.
• introduction of economic regulators and financial mechanisms for environmental management.
• regulation of the rights and obligations of the state, municipalities, legal entities, and individuals.
Environmental protection is based on the following principles:
• sustainable development.
• prevention and reduction of the risk to human health.
• priority of pollution prevention over subsequent elimination of the damages caused by it.
• public participation and transparency in the environmental decision-making process.
• awareness of citizens about the state of the environment.
• the polluter pays for the damages caused.
• conservation, development and protection of ecosystems and their inherent biological diversity.
• restoration and improvement of the quality of the environment in the polluted and damaged areas.
• prevention of pollution and damage to clean areas and other adverse effects on them.
• integration of environmental policy in sectoral and regional policies for economic development and public relations.
• access to justice in environmental matters.
The components of the environment are the atmospheric air, the atmosphere, the waters, the soil, the earth’s bowels, the landscape, the natural objects, the mineral diversity, the biological diversity, and its elements.
Factors that pollute or damage the environment can be natural and anthropogenic substances and processes; different types of waste and their locations; risky energy sources – noise, vibration, radiation, as well as some genetically modified organisms. The management, protection, and control of the components of the environment and the factors influencing them shall be carried out in accordance with the procedure determined by this law and by the special laws on the components and factors of the environment.
The state policy on environmental protection is implemented by the Minister of Environment and Water. The Minister of Environment and Water may by order delegate powers to the Deputy Ministers, defining their functions, and authorize officials in connection with statements of intent and actions that are part of the relevant proceedings for the issuance of administrative acts and documents.
The state policy on environmental protection is integrated in the sectoral policies – transport, energy, construction, agriculture, tourism, industry, education, and others, and is implemented by the competent bodies of the executive power.
Competent authorities within the meaning of the law are:
• the Minister of Environment and Water.
• the Executive Director of the Executive Environment Agency.
• the directors of the regional inspectorates for environment and water (RIEW).
• the directors of the basin directorates.
• the directors of the directorates of the national parks.
• the mayors of the municipalities, and in the cities with regional division – also
• the mayors of the regions.
• district governors.
Competent to take the actions and activities provided by law are:
• on the territory of one municipality – the director of RIEW or the mayor of the municipality, and in the cities with regional division – the mayor of the region.
• on the territory of one district – the district governor or the director of RIEW.
• on the territory of several municipalities within the scope of one RIEW – the director of the respective inspection.
• on the territory of several municipalities within the scope of different RIEWs – the Minister of Environment and Water.
Everyone has the right to access available environmental information without having to prove a specific interest. Environmental information is any information in written, visual, audio, electronic or other material form concerning:
• the condition of the components under Art. 4 and the interaction between them.
• the factors under Art. 5, as well as the activities and measures, including administrative measures, international agreements, policy, legislation, including reports on the implementation of environmental legislation, plans and programs that have or are able to have an impact on the components of the environment.
• the state of human health and human safety, insofar as they are or may be affected by the state of the components of the environment or, through these components, by the factors, activities or measures referred to in item 2.
• cultural and historical heritage sites, buildings, and facilities, insofar as they are or may be affected by the state of the components of the environment or, through these components, by the factors, activities or measures referred to in item 2.
• cost-benefit analysis and other economic analyzes and assumptions used in the measures and activities referred to in item 2.
• emissions, discharges, and other harmful effects on the environment.
The protection, sustainable use and restoration of soil ensure effective protection of human health and soil functions, considering that soil is a limited, irreplaceable, and practically non-renewable natural resource. The protection, sustainable use and restoration of the soil are aimed at:
• prevention of its damage.
• permanent preservation of its multifunctional ability.
• ensuring effective protection of human health.
• preservation of its qualities as an environment for normal development of soil organisms, plants, and animals.
• implementation of preventive control to prevent adverse soil changes and application of good land use practices.
• elimination and / or reduction of the harmful changes of its quality, caused by processes, damaging the soils, according to the requirements of the types of land use.
Legal entities and individuals, owners and / or users of land properties, are obliged not to cause harmful changes in the soil in their own and neighboring land properties. The norms regarding the admissible content of harmful substances in the soil are determined by an ordinance of the Minister of Environment and Water, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Owners and users of land are obliged to take measures to prevent harmful changes that threaten the soil. Whoever causes harmful changes to the soil is obliged to restore at his own expense its condition prior to the damage. The owners and users of underground and above-ground networks and facilities of the technical infrastructure are obliged to maintain them in technical condition and not to allow pollution or other harmful change of the soil around them. The humus layer of the soil is placed under special protection.