The growing number of environmental law obligations that must be fulfilled by entrepreneurs conducting business in every field (from complex production activities to simple service or commercial activities) makes it extremely important to correctly identify these obligations and determine the right method for their implementation.
Identification of such obligations may be served by legal audit of environmental requirements (environmental due diligence), as part of which we verify whether the company is run in accordance with applicable requirements of environmental law, identify areas for improvement or changes and indicate available solutions to the revealed inaccuracies or problems. The scope of the audit is tailored to the industry in which the business operates and includes, among other things, verification of compliance with general environmental requirements, emissions of substances (including dust, gases and sound) into the air, waste management, hazardous substances management, and water and sewage management.
The need to determine whether a given project requires a decision on environmental conditions (the so-called environmental decision), and then to effectively conduct administrative proceedings in this case, is an inherent element of the investment process, which is often associated with a number of problems for investors, also as a result of the involvement of social organizations in the procedure.
The inspection activity of the environmental protection inspection authorities may have a significant impact on the operation of the enterprise. The powers of the authorities include not only the possibility of imposing pecuniary sanctions, but even an order to limit the activity, and in extreme cases to stop it. Taking advantage of the legal support only after the inspection has been completed often turns out to be too late, as certain mistakes made during the inspection cannot be eliminated anymore.
Administrative proceedings under environmental law may have very serious consequences for entrepreneurs. These are proceedings which, on the one hand, decide about the scope of business activity and, on the other hand, may significantly limit or stop projects which are already in progress. The scope of these issues includes many issues – from proceedings on integrated permits, through proceedings on emission permits, water permits, to proceedings on costs of using the environment and liability for violation of environmental standards.
We are witnessing a systematic increase in the number of disputes concerning the negative impact of enterprises on the environment and its surroundings. This results, on the one hand, from the growing social awareness and, on the other hand, from the natural progressive approach of residential areas to industrial areas. Conflicts against this background may have a significant impact on the operation of enterprises and they result from a clash of various interests and values, i.e. economic freedom and the right to develop business activity with the residents’ right to a clean environment, peace on their own property and freedom from immissions.
In summary, our offer includes, among others:
- legal audit of environmental requirements – determining whether and what obligations are incumbent upon the entrepreneur with respect to environmental law and whether they are properly performed,
- support for entrepreneurs and individual investors in all issues related to the procedure of obtaining a decision on environmental conditions, including representation before competent administrative bodies,
- legal assistance to social organisations and parties to proceedings in the procedure for issuing decisions on environmental conditions to the extent necessary to take care of the interests of the neighbourhood and local community,
- legal support for entrepreneurs in control proceedings, including both day-to-day representation before environmental authorities and ad hoc counselling on particular issues,
- representation of entrepreneurs in administrative and court proceedings in cases of administrative liability related to infringements of environmental law standards, as well as civil liability related to environmental damage and negative impact on the environment and surroundings,
- representation of various parties to conflicts arising from the negative impact of enterprises on the environment (e.g. by noise, odours, air, soil or water emissions).
Our past experience includes:
- obtaining a decision on environmental conditions for a new type of production for an entrepreneur from the automotive industry,
- obtaining a decision on environmental conditions for production and storage halls with an area of over 20,000 m2,
- representation of an entrepreneur from the automotive and developer industry in the course of an appeal procedure against the issued decision on environmental conditions,
- developing a strategy for a large manufacturing company and providing an opinion on the necessary obligations and compensation claims in the case of land contamination with hazardous liquid substances by a previous owner,
- preparation of legal opinions on the necessity or otherwise of obtaining a decision on environmental conditions for the planned construction projects,
- preparation of legal opinions on interpretation of provisions of the decision on environmental conditions,
- effective negotiations on various issues with neighbours or social organisations in order to eliminate conflicts under the environmental decision procedure,
- representation of an entrepreneur from the manufacturing sector in a dispute over negative environmental impact, concluded with a positive decision to discontinue the proceedings,
- representation of an entrepreneur from the automotive industry in inspection proceedings of the environmental protection inspection authorities concluded with favourable post-inspection protocols,
- representation of a defendant manufacturing company in a court dispute over immissions on neighbouring land, which ended with the claim being dismissed.
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