13 September 2023 was the effective date of amended cabinet regulation on projects with significant environmental impacts. The change is intended to facilitate project development by increasing the regulatory thresholds for obligatory environmental permits when building garages, parking lots or photovoltaic installations.
Under the old law, an environmental permit was required already for a parking lot or roofed garage of more than 0.5 hectares in area. Under the new law, projects with significant environmental impact, which require environmental permits, will include garages and parking lots of 1 hectare in area or above, with a lower threshold of 0.5 hectare being applied in high nature value areas, up from 0,2 hectare.
The new provisions will apply also to PV farms. Previously, the owner had to apply for an environmental permit when the area of the planned PV project was more than 1 hectare. What’s more, PV installations were treated as industrial or warehouse developments. Now the threshold is up to 2 hectares (or 0.5 hectare for protected nature areas) and PV installations have their own zoning designation and are no longer considered industrial or warehouse developments.
The old law will continue to apply to projects commenced before the new law’s effective date but for which at least one of the required environmental procedures was still pending on that date.
The changes mark a significant simplification and facilitation of real estate development processes, which is a good sign.
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