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Norway

Environmental rules

Updated 11/2012

Legal requirements

The Pollution Control Act contains provisions on pollution and waste. The Pollution Control Act is intended to protect the outdoor environment from pollution and reduce existing levels of pollution. It is also meant to reduce the amount of waste and promote better treatment of waste.

The Act is intended to maintain reasonable environmental quality, such that pollution and waste do not cause damage to health, affect well-being or harm the ability of nature to reproduce and renew itself.

All businesses must be aware of any aspects of their activities, including raw materials and products, that carry a risk of impact to the environment to a certain degree. This applies to all businesses established in Norway, whether they are Norwegian or foreign. If the business produces, imports, processes, sells or uses products, the business has a special responsibility to provide details of these products. Anyone has a right to request environmental information from the business.

The Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency (Klif) has executive responsibility for:

The county governor (fylkesmann) is the pollution control authority for a large number of activities and measures. His responsibilities cover things like chemicals that are hazardous to health and the environment, waste and recycling, atmospheric pollution and noise, along with pollution of water and soil.

It is not permitted to pollute the water supply system and internal distribution networks. Owners of waterworks must ensure that adequate protection of the sources is planned and implemented, to prevent any risk of pollution of drinking water.

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

Administrative procedures

Reporting

Climate quotas

The authorities set the maximum total emissions of greenhouse gases that specified businesses are allowed to discharge over a given period in a quota system. The quotas are allocated free of charge to the enterprises and/or auctioned to the highest bidders.

Greenhouse gases other than CO2 may also be included in a quota system. Since all greenhouse gases have different warming effects, their GWP value is used as a common 'currency'.

Enterprises covered by the quota system must submit an annual report documenting their emissions over the previous year and the quotas for these emissions. If the emissions are higher, quotas must be bought on the market. If they reduce their emissions, the surplus quotas can be sold on the market.

Norway is a member of the EU emissions trading system. Quotas allocated by national authorities within the EU are also valid in Norway (EUA quotas for short).

The Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency manages quotas in Norway.

Treatment of waste

Enterprises that produce or transport food waste must deliver it to a legal treatment facility, unless it is used or recycled in another way. The pollution control authority can grant permits for recycling or other use.

Hazardous waste must be delivered to collection or reception points that are authorised to treat hazardous waste. Enterprises themselves are responsible for assessing whether or not the waste is hazardous.

The municipality has to ensure that there are facilities to receive small quantities of hazardous waste from enterprises. The waste must be delivered at least once a year, but only when the total quantity exceeds 1 kg.

Many substances harmful to health or the environment are regulated under the Product Control Regulation. It is forbidden to produce, import, sell and use some hazardous substances. A ban may be general or it may apply to some product groups or individual uses.

Chemicals

Any producer or importer of a chemical substance produced or imported in quantities of over 1 tonne/year, either by itself or in chemical compounds and mixtures, must register the substance with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). If the manufacturer or importer fails to register a substance according to the rules, it cannot be produced, imported or marketed in the EU/EEA.

Producers or importers of solid products (goods) containing chemicals must also register the substances in the cases set out above.

The REACH regulations on chemicals stipulate common registration and regulation of new and existing chemical substances. REACH applies in Germany by virtue of the EEA Agreement and the EU REACH Regulation has been implemented by the Norwegian REACH regulation. Klif is the responsible national authority in Norway.

Permits

Nobody is allowed to pollute or do anything that may cause pollution without reference to a permit or regulation.

Upon application, the pollution control authority may grant permits for activities that could cause pollution. Emissions that do not cause significant damage or inconvenience may be produced without a permit. The crucial factors are the scale, nature and scope of any emissions. The enterprise itself must assess whether it is necessary to apply for a permit.

Resources

You can find further information on the following web sites:

Help & advice

Help & advice

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