Environmental Impact Assessment Directive
Environmental Impact Assessment / Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive
The quality of environmental reports (in particular the assessment of effects on nature and biodiversity and the assessment of the cumulative impacts of projects) must be improved. The competent authorities have to ensure early and effective opportunities for the public concerned to take part in the assessment procedures and foster dialogue
when conflicts in relation to energy projects emerge.
Sulphur in Fuels Directive
Sulphur in Fuels Directive
Secondary legislation for the quality control of sampling and analysis of the fuels is not yet completed. Further efforts for proper implementation and enforcement must be taken in order to reduce the sulphur content of the fuels falling under the scope of the Directive.
Large Combustion Plants Directive
Large Combustion Plants / Industrial Emissions Directive
The thermal power plant Vlora is still not in operation. The 2019 tender for awarding concession for the plant was cancelled. As any new plant, it must comply with the emission limit values of the Industrial Emissions Directive.
Nature protection studies for the protected areas network, as well as for specific protected areas, that should secure effective protection are being prepared but not adopted yet. The lack of sufficient capacities and adequate financial instruments limits the administration’s power to enforce nature protection legislation. Energy projects, in particular the numerous planned hydropower projects, must comply with national and international nature protection rules and obligations.
State of compliance
Serious efforts are needed for proper implementation and enforcement of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. A lack of early and effective opportunities for the public concerned to participate in the assessment procedures prevails in a large number of cases. During the reporting period, the Secretariat initiated dispute settlement procedures against Albania concerning the non-compliant environmental impact assessment of the HPP Poçem project. Following the initiation of the dispute settlement procedures, the Ministry of Environment rejected the environmental impact assessment report of HPP Kalivac, another project planned on the Vjosa river. Concerns are also being raised related to the environmental impact assessments of projects on the Valbona river. The cumulative impact of small hydropower projects and possible transboundary impacts are not assessed in a systematic manner. The competent authorities should ensure the implementation of the Directive with the support of the recently published Policy Guidelines on the development of small hydropower projects (Policy Guidelines 02/2020).
As regards the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, the Government should ensure that a strategic environmental report for the foreseen National Energy and Climate Plan is prepared as early as possible and that the public has early and effective opportunities to participate in the process.
No steps towards the implementation of the Government’s Decision on the quality of certain liquid fuels used for thermal, civil, industrial use and sea transport of June 2019 took place. The Decision transposes the provisions of the Directive on marine fuels, which applies to Albania as a coastal state. The Government must complete the legal framework (with adoption of the relevant by-laws) in order to implement and enforce the obligations for reduction of the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels.
The only large combustion plant in Albania, thermal power plant Vlora, is not in operation. The tender for awarding a concession for the plant was cancelled in early 2020 due to the fact that none of the received offers met the required conditions. A WBIF project for the Fier-Vlora gas pipeline was launched in June 2020. One of the expected results of this project is to enable the plant to switch its fuel to natural gas. Such a modification is considered as a substantial change and shall be made subject to an environmental impact assessment procedure. Furthermore, the new plant must comply with the emission limit values of the Industrial Emissions Directive.
A detailed study on the revision of the protected areas network in Albania was completed in December 2019, but not yet approved by the Government. The study provides proposals for new revised boundaries and reliable coverage of the existing protected areas network. In February 2020, a study on the protected area Vjosë-Nartë, an area where a number of hydropower projects are planned (including the Poçem project, which is subject to dispute settlement procedures), has been prepared, but not adopted yet. A dialogue with civil society to address the concerns about the risk of reduction of the proposed Vjosë-Nartë protected area due to the planed hydropower projects has to be conducted. Finally, nature protection considerations have to be properly taken into account in environmental assessment procedures.