Which investment projects must be granted environment license and environment registration?

Investment projects, especially factory investment projects, are often subject to strict control by environmental laws as the projects, during operation, usually generate wastewater, dusts and exhaust gases into the environment. Therefore, the investor must ensure all the environmental safety conditions for the project.  The investor must carry out the procedure for environment license or environment registration. This article will analyze which projects must be granted the environment license and which projects must carry out the environment registration procedure. 

Which investment projects must be granted environment license and environment registration?
Which investment projects must be granted environment license and environment registration?

1. Classification of projects on environmental criteria

Environmental laws classify projects into groups based on the criteria of environment impact. For each project group, the regulations prescribe the compatible type of environmental procedure.   

Based on environmental criteria issued in Article 28.1 Environmental Protection Law 2020, investment projects are classified into group I, II, III and IV: 

  • Group I are projects that pose a high risk of adverse environmental impacts (Article 28.3 Environmental Protection Law 2020, Appendix III Decree 08/2022/ND-CP)  
  • Group II are projects that pose a medium – scale risk of environmental pollution (Article 28.4 Environmental Protection Law 2020, Appendix IV Decree 08/2022/ND-CP) 
  • Group III are projects that pose a small – scale risk of environmental pollution (Article 28.5 Environmental Protection Law 2020, Appendix V Decree 08/2022/ND-CP) 
  • Group IV are projects that have a lower risk of causing environmental pollution and do not fall into the cases of Group I, II, III (Article 28.6 Environmental Protection Law 2020) 

It should be noted that projects operating before the effective date of Environmental Protection Law 2020 must still carry out the procedures for environmental license or environmental registration (Article 39.2, Article 49.1.b Environmental Protection Law 2020). 

2. Projects subject to environment license application 

Pursuant to Article 39.1 Environmental Protection 2020, projects in group I, II, III that generate wastewater, dusts and exhaust gases, hazardous waste into the environment during operation are subjected to the application for environment license.  

Additionally, the investor must pay attention to the time for issuance of the environment license. With a project subject to environmental impact assessment, the project must obtain the environment license before trial operation of the waste treatment work. With a project not subject to environmental impact assessment, the project must obtain the environment license before the competent authority promulgates other environmental documents issued in Points a, b, c, d and g Article 36.1 Environmental Protection Law 2020.  

3. Projects subject to environment registration 

Pursuant to Article 49.1 Environmental Protection Law 2020, projects in group IV that generate waste during operation don’t need to apply for environment license and only need to proceed the environment registration.  

However, not every project in group IV is required to perform environment registration. Pursuant to Article 49.2 Environmental Protection Law 2020, with projects classified as state secrets or projects that do not generate waste or only generate a small quantity of waste which is treated using in situ waste treatment works or managed in accordance with regulations of the local government, those projects are not the subject of environment registration procedure. The specific criteria to assess which projects are exempted from environment registration is issued in Article 32 and Appendix XVI Decree 08/2022/ND-CP. As for now, the Environmental Protection Law does not specify that projects exempted from environment registration are also exempted from environment licensing. However, since the projects exempted from environment registration belong to group IV, and group IV are not the subject of environment licensing. Therefore, it can be concluded that the projects exempted from environment registration are also exempted from environment licensing. 

Moreover, the investor needs to pay attention to the time for the environment registration procedure. With a project subject to environmental impact assessment, the projects must finish the environment registration before being put into official operation. With a project not subject to environmental impact assessment, the projects must finish the environment registration before the competent authority issue the construction permit in case a construction permit is required or before waste is discharged into the environment in case a construction permit is not required. 

 


Disclaimers:

This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide any legal advice for any particular case. The legal provisions referenced in the content are in effect at the time of publication but may have expired at the time you read the content. We therefore advise that you always consult a professional consultant before applying any content.

For issues related to the content or intellectual property rights of the article, please email cs@apolatlegal.vn.

Apolat Legal is a law firm in Vietnam with experience and capacity to provide consulting services related to Business and Investment and contact our team of lawyers in Vietnam via email info@apolatlegal.com.

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