The Bill that provides for enhancement of the organisation of environmental monitoring, and more extensive and thorough analysis of monitoring results, passed the second reading in the Riigikogu.
The aim of the Environmental Monitoring Bill (100 SE), initiated by the Government, is to specify and enhance the organisation of environmental monitoring, update provisions, and bring the Environmental Monitoring Act of the Environmental Code into conformity with other Acts of the Environmental Code.
The Bill focuses mainly on the organisation of the monitoring, and provides for the duties of the institutions or persons responsible, and the procedure for the establishment of monitoring stations and areas and for the processing and storage of the data obtained in the course of monitoring. It also contains the principles of the procedure for drawing up the national environmental monitoring programme and for completion of sub-programmes thereof.
The Bill will specify the tasks of participants in the monitoring, in view of the need to increase the responsibility for data, preserve the data collected and ensure the accuracy thereof, maintain environmental monitoring stations and areas, and involve scientists and experts for more extensive and thorough analysis of monitoring results and drawing up forecasts, including also for provision of assessments of the state of the environment.
The Ministry of the Environment organises and coordinates national environmental monitoring. The Bill will also specify the procedure for quick notification of the public of the state of the environment and changes therein.
Environmental monitoring is a means to help ensure the living environment appropriate to the health and welfare needs of people. Results of the monitoring of the state of the environment are used in the evaluation of the effectiveness and in the amendment of strategies, development plans and action plans, and monitoring data are one of the main indicators in effective environmental protection.
The role of monitoring data is important in the processing of environmental permits and in environmental impact assessment, as well as in the exercise of supervision and in application of environmental liability. The main objective of environmental monitoring is the evaluation and forecasting of the state of the environment and changes therein on the basis of monitoring data, and the tackling of changes in factors affecting the environment.
The Environment Committee had submitted ten motions to amend the Bill between the first and the second reading, and the Riigikogu supported them. The Bill was amended by adding a provision according to which the institution or person responsible enters into an agreement on the establishment of a national environmental monitoring station or area with an owner of immovable property. It was also specified in the Bill that, in national environmental monitoring stations, in the vicinity thereof, and in national environmental monitoring areas, it is prohibited to engage in activities that may cause damage to the station or area, hinder the monitoring work, or cause an interruption of the completion of the national environmental monitoring programme.
The Bill was amended by adding a subsection according to which the details of the compensation for the obligation to tolerate an environmental monitoring station or area will be agreed upon in an agreement entered into between the institution or person responsible and an owner of immovable property if the owner of immovable property so wishes. Also, the date of entry into force of the Act was changed to 1 January 2017. In addition, several technical amendments and amendments concerning wording were made to the Bill.
At the beginning of the sitting, the justice of the Supreme Court Nele Parrest took the oath of office.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu (NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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