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New Decree – Law to speed up environmental processing.

We inform you that the New Decree-Law 2/2016 has been published on urgent measures for the reactivation of business activity and employment through liberalisation and the elimination of bureaucratic burdens, which substantially modifies Law 4/2009 on Integrated Environmental Protection in the procedures for obtaining environmental authorisations:

Integrated environmental authorisation.
Sectoral environmental authorisation.
Activity licenses.
Responsible declaration.
Responsible declaration of innocuous activities.
Responsible declaration for trade activities and certain services.

These modifications are motivated, according to the explanatory memorandum, by changes in state regulations, in terms of integrated pollution control and environmental assessment, fundamentally; and by regulating actions contrary to the Law on Local Regime Bases, hindering the liberalisation of business initiative. This gives way to the general rule of prior communication or responsible declaration, replacing the activity licence, for those activities with little environmental impact.

For this reason, the articles disconnected from recent state regulations are repealed, the criteria for the substantial modification of activities are specified, the regime of the urban compatibility certificate is modified, adjusting it to the state model, the direct consultation of neighbours in the AAI procedure is abolished, the requirement for an ECA report in prior communication is abolished, which must now be presented within two months from the start of the activity, and the activity licence is decoupled from the rest of the authorisations or autonomous controls. The latter being the most significant modification, returning to the obligation to request the activity licence from the municipality, and the controls and reports of the licence are no longer integrated into the autonomic authorisation. Nevertheless, and maintaining the integrating purpose, when more than one sectorial authorisation is required, they will be requested jointly, being the object of a single resolution. The activity licence acquires a secondary role in favour of the responsible declaration, which shall be limited to the activities listed in Annex I. In activities subject to responsible declaration, the municipality maintains the same level of control as in those subject to license, only altering the moment in which this control is carried out. In return, the promoter of the activity can start operating, under his responsibility, as soon as he makes the responsible declaration. This must be accompanied by documentation accrediting compliance with the requirements for carrying out the activity and a certificate issued by a competent technician accrediting compliance with the requirements established in the applicable regulations, including urban planning.

The rule comes into force from 23 April with a period of one month for the adaptation of current regulations affected.

Articles 18, 21, 24.4, 29, 30, 32.4 and 5, 41 to 44, 47 to 58, 79 to 82, 87 to 98, 103 to 110 of Law 4/2009 are repealed.

We will now deal with some of the new articles of Law 4/2009, in particular, the following:

Article 31 refers to AAI’s request and differentiates between the basic project and the technical project of the installation. It establishes the cases in which the project is subject to environmental assessment or not.

Article 46 sets out the content of applications for sectoral environmental authorisation, which replaces the single environmental authorisation (SEA).

Article 62 expressly mentions that industrial activities that consist solely of sanitary discharges are not subject to the authorisation of discharges to the sewerage network.

Article 64 refers to the activity licence procedure, with the content of the application. And it establishes the maximum term to resolve in six months, after which, the application will be understood to have been granted (granting by administrative silence).

Article 70 is related to the presentation of the declaration responsible for the activity, with the moment in which it must be presented and the documentation that must be accompanied, including a descriptive report and a certificate issued by a competent technician.

Article 71 deals with the responsible declaration in the case of innocuous activities, in which the competent technician’s certificate is not required and article 72 in the case of trade activities and certain services, with similar requirements.

The second transitional provision regulates the adaptation of sectoral environmental authorisations to the new regime. In this way:

The AAU procedures in the process will be processed in accordance with the regime applicable at the time of application. The applicant may

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