Environmental Supervision Areas
Supervision activities have been classified into three main categories: environmental protection, nature protection and fisheries protection.
The environmental protection covers the following areas:
- waste management
- hazardous substances and chemical safety
- packaging requirements
- protection of water
- protection of ambient air and ozone layer
- protection of the earth´s crust
- protection of radiation
- integrated pollution prevention and control
- cross-compliance control
Nature Conservation covers the following areas:
- protection of forests
- classic nature protection
- protection of shores
- requirements of hunting
Fisheries protection covers the following areas:
- recreational afishing
- commercial fishing in coastal sea and in inland waters
- fishing in the Baltic Sea
- fishing in oceans
- control of fish-handling enterprises.
The Environmental Inspectorate controls the compliance to the requirements of legislation for environmental protection.
Supervision is based on the annually elaborated work schedules which takes into account the pevious compliance monitoring results and potential risks. In addition to that, inspectors check the received complaints and information concerning the environmental violations.
The Environmental Inspectorate has the right to:
Implement measures provided by law for the prevention of illegal activities and implementation of mandatory environmental protection measures;
Suspend unlawful activities damaging or dangerous to the environment and also lawful activities related to the use of natural resources if such activities endanger the life, health or property of persons;
Organise the storage, sale and return to the lawful owner or destruction of natural products of undetermined ownership and of equipment and instruments used for procurement thereof;
Organise, in the cases prescribed by law, the liquidation of unauthorised construction works.
The functions, rights and obligations of the Environmental Inspectorate are specified in the Environmental Supervision Act.
In addition to this, legally binding norms concerning the environment have also been stipulated in the special laws of different areas, including the: Forest Act, Fishing Act, Hunting Act, Water Act, Waste Act, Ambient Air Protection Act, Chemicals Act, Earth`s Crust Act, Nature Conservation Act and the Radiation Act. When processing violations, inspectors follow the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure, the Penal Code and also the Code of Criminal
English translations of Estonian legal acts can be found here.
European Union legal acts: http://eur-lex.europa.eu
Since 2003 environmental violations´ statistics show a downward trend. Planned and more effective supervision, cooperation with ohter supervisory authorities and improved environmental management are the causes of the diminuation of environmental offences, as well as increasing people´s awareness and their more caring attitudes to the environment.
The key for effective supervision is having a systematic approach to the environmental problems, which helps to approach the underlying causes of the problems and therefore reach the best solution.
It is important to:
- Perform a risk-based analysis which identifies the major issues;
- Target to the activities and facilities which mostly influence the environmental conditions;
- Detect the violationsin early stages that enable to stop the illegal activity which endangers the environment and therefore avoid major losses;
- Invest into prevention and notification;
- Cooperate with other state agencies and various interest groups.