Environmental Impact Assessment Directive
Environmental Impact Assessment / Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive
Amendments necessary to fully transpose the amendments introduced by Directive 2014/52/EU and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive are pending. Review of other relevant legislation is necessary in order to comply with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. Administrative capacities should be improved to secure proper quality control of environmental reports and systematic screening of projects subject to Annex II of the EIA Directive. Ensuring effective public participation remains a challenge.
Sulphur in Fuels Directive
Sulphur in Fuels Directive
An unexpected revision of the transposing rulebook once again postponed the implementation date of the 1,00% requirement for heavy fuel oil to 1 January 2021, thereby extending the serious and persistent breach established by Ministerial Council Decision 2018/14/MC-EnC.
Large Combustion Plants Directive
Large Combustion Plants / Industrial Emissions Directive
The National Emission Reduction Plan is officially adopted, however, concerns regarding the monitoring of its implementation and securing enforcement of the plan remain. Serious steps, including a proper financial framework, need to be taken in order to secure aligning the emissions from large combustion plants with the ceiling for sulphur dioxide.
Protected areas are lacking effective protective measures and administrative capacity that can properly assess the impacts of energy projects onsite. A dialogue should be established and managed when conflicts between planned hydropower projects and nature protection emerge.
State of compliance
Amendments to the existing legal framework to achieve full transposition of Directive 2014/52/EU and the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive have not been prepared yet, although planned by the Government since 2017. The Secretariat is in the process of assessing two complaints concerning the lack of transposition, proper implementation and systematic enforcement of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. In the review process, other relevant legislation (e.g. the Law on Planning and Building) also needs to be assessed due to possible collision with the provisions of the EIA Directive. Concerning small hydropower development, the considerations published in the Policy Guidelines 02/2020-ECS on the development of small hydropower projects should serve as support. With regard to the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, Serbia has to secure that a SEA for the delayed National Energy and Climate Plan is conducted in a compliant manner.
In relation to the already long overdue obligation of 1,00% sulphur content of heavy fuel oil, Serbia revised the Rulebook on technical and other requirements for liquid fuels, thereby postponing the deadline again until 1 January 2021. According to the revised rulebook, the sulphur content of heavy fuel oil may be a maximum of 3,00% until the completion of the desulphurization process in the refinery is completed. The Secretariat was not informed about and did not receive any explanation regarding the postponement, which is clearly in breach of Ministerial Council Decision 2018/14/MC-EnC and of serious concern.
On 30 January 2020, the Government of Serbia adopted the National Emission Reduction Plan (NERP). It is however not clear which administrative body will monitor the implementation and secure the enforcement of the plan. Serbia complied with its reporting obligations under the Large Combustion Plants Directive for the reporting year 2019. Four large combustion plants are operating under the opt-out regime in Serbia. Based on their current load factor, three out of the four opted-out plants are expected to reach the limit earlier than the end of 2023, the final date of operation for opted-out plants. In the case of plants under the NERP, the ceilings for sulphur dioxide are not complied with. Serbia also provided emission scenarios taking into account ongoing investments, which however do not show a clear trend towards compliance in the coming years. This makes the need to secure sufficient financing for proper implementation of the NERP even more pressing.
Management plans and management entities with sufficient capacity to secure enforcement of effective measures against the use of prohibited means and methods of killing, capture and other forms of exploitation of protected species are still lacking. Serious efforts should be made for proper protection and management of the nature park “Stara Planina”, a biodiversity hotspot which is also a category I protected area. Administrative capacities must be improved and adequate financial support must be allocated (on national and local level) in order to properly assess the impact of planned hydropower projects early in the decision-making process. Dialogue with the local communities and the civil society sector has to be ensured whenever conflict between planned energy projects (with particular regard to foreseen hydropower projects) and nature protection goals emerges.