Improved inspection and enforcement of environmental and climate change legislation

    Situational Review

    The Ministry of Environment relies on the State Environmental Inspectorate to identify and respond to issues related to environment and climate change. IBECA is conducting a situational review of the Inspectorate at national and regional level to find out where the gaps and needs are. This includes the situation with technical, human and financial resources, including priority needs in equipment and training. Both the central office of the State Environmental Inspectorate and its regional branches are under review.

    Strengthening the Inspectorate

    Based on the situational review, IBECA works with the Ministry of Environment to prepare and implement a programme for strengthening the Inspectorate. The programme includes new institutional structures, good working practices, identification of skills and job descriptions, increased exchanges between the central office and the regions, and training. The project has proposed to set an annual budget and then plan activities accordingly instead of the other way round.

    Effective Procedures

    Particular attention is given to the issue of the effectiveness of working procedures. A combination of IT solutions connecting the State Environmental Inspectorate offices with solid guidance documents serves the basis of improvements in the daily work of inspectors. This includes the development of protocols and questionnaires to be used for duties such as site visits.

    EU Training and Qualifications

    Credible, professional and qualified inspectors are fundamental for successful compliance and enforcement of environmental and climate change laws. Based on a training plan a selected group of inspectors is trained specifically to train other inspectors. The rest of the inspectors are provided with vocational qualifications that match their job roles.

    Administrative Fines

    IBECA is helping in identifying what causes the low collection rate of administrative fines issued to entities that violate environmental legislation. Technical assistance is provide to the Ministry on how to change the situation. For monetary penalties to work there must be a set of precise, fair and transparent rules, a consistent but flexible application, and closer control of the fine payments. The project designs measures to improve recording, managing, processing, and reporting of fines to the Administrative Court. Finally, it promotes the sharing and dissemination of information on EU environmental inspection and enforcement policy.

    Prosecution Practices

    The project assists in building knowledge and experience in cases that undergo prosecution. This is done by:

      1. Training inspectors to use more actively the payment enforcement means they already have;

      2. Training judges and prosecutors on environmental requirements.

    Together with the Ministry, IBECA is developing a more sustainable tariff system for permitting and inspection. In addition, support is given to sharing and communication between the different environmental protection bodies. A proposal is being considered to establish a joint working group that will ensure that both environmental protection and environmental crime detection are optimised through cross-agency communication and sharing of best practices.