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Environmental impact assessment is considered to be one of main instruments of international environmental policy of sustainable development.
It is based on following principles:
complexity of the assessment of expected impacts of a proposed activity on the environment before deciding on its location or prior to its permission under special regulations and in case of a strategic document prior to its approval,
impacts assessment is carried out by experts from various spheres,
wide and active public participation in the assessment process,
assessment process does not replace the permission process of a proposed activity.
In the Slovak Republic the assessment has been carried out since 1994 when the Act No. 127/1994 Coll. of the National Council of the Slovak Republic on environmental impact assessment came into force. In order to provide for the full harmonisation of the Slovak legislation in the field of environmental impact assessment with the legislation of the European Union, the Act No. 391/2000 Coll. amending and supplementing the Act No. 127/1994 Coll. of the National Council of the Slovak Republic on environmental impact assessment was adopted in 2000. This Act regulates in detail the process of impact assessment of constructions, installations and other activities on the environment. It simplifies substantially the impact assessment of draft principal development conceptions, land-use planning documentations and generally binding legal regulations (Strategic Impact Assessment - SEA).
At present, the Act No. 24/2006 Coll. on environmental impact assessment and on amendments and supplements to certain acts applies, which entered into force on 1st February 2006. It regulates the process of expert and public assessment of expected impacts of strategic documents on the environment prior to their approval and impact assessment of proposed activities before their permission under special regulations. The Decree No. 113/2006 Coll. of the Ministry of Environment, regulates the details of the professional qualification for the purposes of environmental impact assessment.
The requirement to adopt the Act No. 24/2006 Coll. on environmental impact assessment and on amendments and supplements to certain acts as well as its updates ensued from the fact that the European Union has adopted directives concerning environmental impact assessment, namely:
Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment
Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (codification),
Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment
The aim of assessment according to the Act 24/2006 Coll.on environmental impact assessment and on amendments and supplements to certain acts:
to ensure a high standard of environmental protection and to contribute to the integration of environmental aspects into the preparation and approval of strategic documents, with a view of promoting sustainable development,
to ascertain, describe and evaluate direct and indirect impacts of a strategic document and a proposed activity on the environment,
to explain and compare the advantages and disadvantages of a proposed strategic document and a proposed activity, including their alternatives, and this also in comparison with the zero alternative,
to define the measures that will prevent the environmental pollution, mitigate the environmental pollution or prevent damaging of the environment,
to obtain an expert ground for the adoption of a strategic document and for the issue of a decision for the permission of an activity under special regulations.
The subject of assessment includes:
the process of environmental impact assessment of strategic documents prior to their approval,
the process of environmental impact assessment of proposed activities prior to their location or to their permission under special regulations,
environmental impact assessment of strategic documents and proposed activities in transboundary context,
the competence of state administration authorities in the field of environmental impact assessment.