At first glance, the State Ecological Inspectorate of Ukraine is a "toothless" regulatory body that cannot seriously harm businesses with its inspections. And the fines for violating environmental legislation do not seem to be so great.
Moreover, the responsibility for not allowing inspectors to inspect is not provided at all.
However, it is worth remembering that the results of the inspection may stop production and recover damages to the state.
We will tell in detail about inspections of ecoinspection and their consequences in this article.
The main function of ecoinspection is to protect the environment. The inspection checks:
- compliance with legislation on environmental protection and land protection;
- compliance with permits for the use of natural resources;
- compliance with the standards of maximum permissible emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere, the impact of physical and biological factors;
- compliance with the limits of pollutant discharges, etc.
The State Ecoinspection of Ukraine carries out scheduled and unscheduled inspections in accordance with the Law of Ukraine "On Basic Principles of State Supervision (Control) in the Sphere of Economic Activity".
You can learn about scheduled inspections of the environmental inspection at inspection portal.
The frequency of inspections at the enterprise depends on the degree of risk of its activities.
Enterprises with a high degree of risk are systematically inspected no more than once every 2 years, medium-risk - no more than once every 3 years, low-risk - no more than once every 5 years.
The degree of risk of the enterprise is influenced by various factors. For example, compliance with environmental requirements, the presence of facilities with significant environmental impact, types and number of violations of environmental legislation during the last 5 years before the inspection, etc.
The inspector does not warn the enterprise about carrying out unscheduled inspection.
The grounds for conducting unscheduled inspections are defined in Law № 877. These may be a statement of the enterprise, verification of previously issued instructions, the occurrence of an accident or death as a result of an accident, etc.
During an unscheduled inspection, the environmental inspectorate may inspect only those issues that became the basis for the inspection.
Should inspectors not be allowed to inspect?
Prior to the start of the inspection, the inspector must provide the original referral for inspection and provide a copy. The inspector who came to conduct the inspection must be indicated in the direction and must present an identity card.
If the inspection is carried out on the complaint of an individual, the inspector must additionally provide a copy of the letter of the State Coinspection of Ukraine approving such inspection.
If the inspector does not have the above documents or does not provide them, the company may not allow it.
At the same time, the law does not provide for liability for failure to allow an environmental inspector to inspect.
However, it should be remembered that non-admission to the inspection affects the number of scheduled inspections. That is, the more you do not have tolerances, the greater the risk of scheduled inspections.
In addition, environmental inspectors often write reports of criminal offenses to the police. These statements are based on the fact that the company has a detrimental effect on nature and does not allow environmental inspection to check for violations.
Police officers open criminal proceedings and come with searches to the enterprise to find out the circumstances of the commission of a criminal offense.
Therefore, unjustified inadmissibility is quite risky.
Act on the results of the inspection
The act based on the results of a scheduled or unscheduled inspection shall be signed by the officials of the State Coinspection of Ukraine on the last day of the inspection and submitted to the enterprise for signature.
We advise you to sign the act and be sure to note the comments to it. Remarks can be both on the merits of the identified violations and on the violation of the inspection procedure.
Often, if an enterprise signs an act without comment, it is then used against the enterprise in court, claiming that it has agreed to the violations contained in the act.
Importantly! The act is not challenged in court based on the results of the inspection, as it does not create any rights and obligations for the company.
Instructions for the elimination of identified violations
On the basis of the act, based on the results of the inspection, officials of the State Coinspection of Ukraine may issue an order. This is a document that obliges the company to eliminate the identified violations within a certain period of time.
Prescriptions can be appealed in court. There may be different grounds for appealing the order.
Termination of the enterprise
The State Coinspection may apply to the court to fully or partially prohibit the activities of the enterprise, which is carried out in violation of environmental legislation and poses a threat to human life and health.
Claims of environmental inspection and recovery of damages
The Ecoinspection has the right to file claims against enterprises for compensation for damages caused to the state in violation of environmental legislation.
The claim itself is simply a requirement to pay. It may not be performed. However, be prepared that the next step for the environmental inspectorate will be to go to court to sue for damages. Evidence confirming the damage may be an inspection report, a measurement report or a sampling report.
Fines of ecoinspection
In addition to appealing to the court with claims for damages or suspension of the enterprise, inspectors may impose an administrative fine as a result of the inspection. Penalties may be imposed, for example, for damage to or contamination of land, violation of air emissions or water use regulations. The size of fines is different, from 85 UAH to 3400 UAH. The fine is imposed either on the head of the enterprise, or on the ecologist or other employee who is responsible for compliance with the rules that have been violated.
In conclusion, it should be noted that environmental inspections may have different consequences. Starting with a small fine and ending with a lawsuit to stop the company or even criminal proceedings.
In order to reduce the negative consequences of the inspection, you need to prepare for it. This can be done very easily, especially when the check is scheduled. You can take a typical form of the act and walk on possible violations.
Your employees should also be prepared for the inspection, especially those who can communicate with the inspectors. As a result of the inspection, it is important not to miss the deadlines for objections and appeals against inspectors' decisions. In this case, the negative consequences of inspections can be avoided.