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Sweden

Environmental rules

Updated 12/2012

Legal requirements

Environmental Code and Nature Conservation Act are the most important laws in the environmental field.

Environmental Code includes even rules of consideration which means that anyone who causes or threatens to cause damage to the environment is responsible for remedying or preventing the damage (polluter pays principle).

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

Administrative procedures

Declaratory procedures

An environmental impact assessment must be made before a company can begin operations considered to be hazardous to the environment.

Hazardous activities include:

  • emissions of sewage, solid substances or gas from land, buildings or facilities into the soil, bodies of water or ground water;
  • use of land, buildings or facilities in a way which may result in damage to human health or the environment through emissions other than those referred to in point one, or through pollution of the soil, air, bodies of water or ground water;
  • use of land, buildings or facilities in a way which may cause a nuisance in the surrounding area due to noise, vibrations, light, ionising or non-ionising radiation or similar.

Chemicals

EU-regulations REACH covers chemicals, and has been incorporated into the Swedish Environmental Code. The regulation is based on a system with advance registration makes companies responsible for ensuring that any chemicals released from their operations are not hazardous to health or the environment.

Activities of this kind must be registered with the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

Licences

In order to conduct hazardous activity one has to apply for a license.

Applications for licences for hazardous activity are tested by Sweden's County Administrative Boards, which have limited regional responsibility for supervision. It is also a service authority and an appeal body.

In the case of operations with a significant impact on their surroundings, such as nuclear power plants or pulp mills, the government is responsible for granting licences.

Inspections

The Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI) assesses, classifies and labels chemical substances and formulas considered as hazardous to health and the environment.

Resources

Swedish Environmental Protection Agency can provide information and advice on how environmental laws should be interpreted, and what constitutes an environmental impact assessment.

Programmes

The Swedish parliament has drawn up 16 national quality objectives with a fixed agenda. 16 national quality objectives with a fixed agenda. These goals describe the quality and state of the environment which are sustainable in the long term.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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