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.
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.
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.
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.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI) assesses, classifies and labels chemical substances and formulas considered as hazardous to health and the environment.
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency can provide information and advice on how environmental laws should be interpreted, and what constitutes an environmental impact assessment.
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.