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Latvia

Environmental rules

Updated 05/2011

Legal requirements

Environmental control

Environmental control is regulated by:

Environmental impact assessment

An environmental impact assessment, the key government institution in respect of which is the Environment State Bureau, is a prerequisite for land development. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) is one of the environmental protection policy instruments covering and affecting all kinds of areas associated with the environment. The EIA should be seen as a procedure applicable in order to assess the potential impact of the intended activities on the environment and to develop proposals for preventing or reducing any negative impact.

Waste management

The issue of waste management permits is governed by the Waste Management Law. The responsibility of businesses for packaging is governed by the Law on Packaging, while requirements related to vehicles are governed by the End-of Life Vehicles Management Law.

Chemicals

Institutions controlling this area and the responsibilities of businesses are laid down in the Chemical Substances and Chemical Products Law.

The industrial accident prevention programme or safety overview shall be submitted to the Environment State Bureau, the civil defence plan shall be submitted to the State Fire and Rescue Service.

Water protection

Monitoring of water resources use is laid down in the Water Management Law. Their quality standards - by the Cabinet Regulations.

Air protection

Air control is generally governed by the Law On Pollution. Separate Cabinet Regulations lay down the responsibilities of businesses in connection with volatile organic compounds, fuel vapour, substances depleting the ozone layer, sulphur and odour pollution.

Noise protection

Regulations on noise in the built environment, the environment, construction and noise created by equipment have been issued under the Law On Pollution, the Law On Construction and the Law On Conformity Assessment. Noise levels in commercial activity and noise created by transport is controlled by the Health Inspectorate, while the noise level at social events is controlled by local authorities.

Radiation safety and nuclear safety

The Law On Radiation Safety and Nuclear Safety lays down responsibilities and safety requirements relating to ionising radiation sources for institutions and natural and legal persons. State control in this area is carried out by:

Inspections

A business must submit an application to the State Environmental Service for an environmental impact assessment, if technical regulations are required. The State Environmental Service shall issue the regulations or refusal within one month.

Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum environmental legal requirements at their own initiative.

Administrative procedures

Declaratory procedures

Businesses must pay the natural resources tax quarterly in respect of the previous quarter by the twentieth of the following month and submit a return of the relevant computation to the State Revenue Service.

Waste management

The annual report on waste shall be submitted to the State Environmental Service by 15 February. The Annual packaging return shall be submitted by 1 May. Businesses exempt from natural resources tax shall submit additional returns to the Latvian Environmental Protection Fund Administration:

Chemicals

The annual report on chemical substances and products shall be submitted to the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre by 1 March. A declaration of dangerous substances on-site shall be submitted to the State Environmental Service.

Water

The annual report on water-resources use shall be submitted to the State Environmental Service by 31 January.

Climate and air

The report on greenhouse-effect gases and the auditor's report shall be submitted to the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre. The report on air protection must be submitted to the Environmental Service by 31 January. The report on refrigerant coolants or ozone-layer depleting chemical substances must be submitted to the Geology and Meteorology Centre by 1 February. The report on volatile organic compounds must be submitted to the State Environmental Service by 1 February.

Noise protection

Reporting on the prevention of noise pollution shall be carried out according to the rules on noise source and limit laid down by the State Environmental Service for Category A or B permits for polluting activity.

Radiation safety and nuclear safety

Operators must by 31 January submit information on changes in the previous year related to ionising radiation sources and activities therewith and on human resources and other changes to the Radiation Safety Centre of the State Environmental Service by 31 January.

Permits and licences

Information on permits and licences can be found here:

Land development

An environmental impact assessment, the key government institution in respect of which is the Environment State Bureau is a prerequisite of land development. Overall the body responsible for construction is the Ministry of Economics.

Waste management

The State Environmental Service shall issue a waste management permit within one month.

Chemicals

Chemical substance permits are issued by the State Environmental Service.

Water

The Cabinet Regulations on permits for water-resources use defines the activities that require a permit for water-resources use; the application form shall be submitted to the State Environmental Service ; documents to be attached to the application. An application for a permit shall be submitted not later than 60 days before the commencement of the planned activity.

Climate and air

An application for a permit for the emission of greenhouse-gases shall be submitted to the State Environmental Service 90 days in advance.

  • “Greenhouse-gas emissions trading register" to "Greenhouse-gas emissions unit register

An application for a volatile organic compounds licence shall be submitted to the State Environmental Service 30 days in advance.

An application for a refrigerant coolants or fluorinated greenhouse-gas licence shall be submitted to the State Environmental Service one month in advance.

Noise protection

There is no need for a separate noise permit. In his application to the Environmental Service regarding the receipt of permits for Category A or B polluting activity, the operator must state the noise source and rates. When issuing the permit, the Environmental Service prescribes requirements for noise sources and noise limits.

Radiation safety and nuclear safety

Applications for ionising-radiation source permits shall be submitted to the Radiation Safety Centre of the State Environmental Service, which shall make its decision within 20 days. The Radiation Safety Centre shall, within five days of making its decision, issue the permit or its grounds for refusal and inform the applicant thereof. A duty is payable for the issue of a licence or permit.

Inspections

Compliance with the legislation governing environmental protection, radiation safety and nuclear safety and the use of natural resources is monitored by the units of the State Environmental Service.

Land development

The State Environmental Service enforces legislation within its competence.       

Waste management

Waste management inspection is carried out by inspectors of the State Monitoring and Control Department of the State Environmental Service and state environmental inspectors attached to regional environmental offices.

Chemicals

The handling of chemical substances and the trade in biocides is controlled by the Health Inspectorate ; by the State Labour Inspectorate,  in the case of chemicals in products and the work environment; and by the State Environmental Service in the case of manufacturing and professional use. Dangerous chemical substances on state borders - by the State Revenue Service. In the case of dangerous chemical substances on the state’s borders by the  Consumer Rights Protections Centre. Chemical substances are managed by the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.       

Water

Inspections related to water management within its competence are carried out by the State Environmental Service.

Climate and air

The manufacture and use of products containing volatile organic compounds is controlled by the State Environmental Service, and by the Health Inspectorate in the case of conformity and traders. The market in sulphur-containing fuel is controlled by the State Environmental Service, the Maritime Administration of Latvia and the State Revenue Service Environmental requirements for petrol stations and oil depots, ozone-layer depleting substances and fluorinated greenhouse gases, together with the enforcement of regulations on odour restriction are controlled by the State Environmental Inspection.

Noise protection

Commercial and vehicle noise levels are controlled by the Health Inspectorate. Local authorities are responsible for controlling noise created by social events.

Radiation safety and nuclear safety

This field is controlled by the Radiation Safety Centre of the State Environmental Service.

Help & advice

Help & advice

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