Specific Feature of Environmental Impact Assessment in the Slovak Republic: The Role of Landscape

7.3.1 Environmental Impact Assessment/Strategic Impact Assessment of Sustainable Energy Facilities

Many projects concerning energetic constructions were carried out in the Slovak Republic. To maintain the typical landscape of our country and to conserve or improve the actual conditions of the environment there, it was necessary to engage some tools that can help to avoid these problems. As many others countries have done, Slovakia has adopted the structured approaches of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). These pro­cesses, as the base elements of sustainable development, have been helpful in creating energetic politics and strategies and in finding appropriate locations for many different projects, including renewable facilities.

Formally, the EIA and SEA are tools for obtaining and evaluating environmental information before its use in decision making in the development process. This information consists basically of predictions and the evaluation of social, economic, health, and environmental impacts and advice as to how best manage these changes if one alternative is selected and implemented (Abaza et al. 2004). An EIA focuses on proposed physical developments (constructions, facilities, and activities), and an SEA focuses on proposed documents such as new laws, policies, strategies, and plans.

The institution of impact assessment was first established in the Slovak Republic by Act No. 127/1994 Coll., which was effective from September 1, 1994. This law covered not only EIA, but also in a rather simple form, SEA. To harmonize the Slovak legislation with that of the EU, the law was later modified by the Act No. 391/2000 Coll. On February 1, 2006 the law was replaced by the new Act No. 24/2006 Coll. This law covers all requirements from the relevant EU directives and related international agreements. This act has been many times revised. In this current law, the processes of EIA, SEA, and transboundary assess­ment are equally represented. The individual steps of processes, the structure of documentation, and public participation are all specified.

Wind energy

Solar energy

Biomass energy

Water energy

Geothermal

energy

Act No. 127/1994 Coll.

0

0

0

2

2

Act No. 391/2000 Coll.

9

0

0

16

4

Act No. 24/2006 Coll.

65

12

3

16

9

Specific Feature of Environmental Impact Assessment in the Slovak Republic: The Role of Landscape Подпись: — Wind energy — Solar energy — Biomass energy — Water energy _ Geothermal energy

Fig. 7.1 Proposed projects of sustainable energy facilities assessed under environmental impact assessment (EIA) in the Slovak Republic in years 1994-2011

The main part of the EIA and SEA is the impact assessment. The actual law in Slovakia characterizes it as a comprehensive finding, description, and assessment of presumed impacts of the strategic documents and proposed activities on the envi­ronment, including comparison with the existing state of the environment in the given locality and in the area of presumed impacts. The assessment includes the preparation of environmental impact statements, consultations, and the final state­ment (Act No. 24/2006 Coll. in wording of later issued provisions).

Together, more than 5,900 constructions, facilities, and activities and more than 700 strategic documents were assessed during the force of the EIA and SEA legislation from 1994 (based on www. enviroportal. sk). Among them were four assessed documents related to energetics, specifically, the “Draft of Conception on Utilization the Hydroenergetic Potential of the Water Flows,” the “Energy Security Strategy,” the “Strategy of Final Part of Nuclear Energetics,” and the “Strategy of Higher Usage of Renewable Sources of Energy.” Also, the conceptions of the development of heat energetics in cities and towns have been evaluated. In focusing on renewable sources of energy under EIA, altogether 138 proposed projects of renewable facilities have been assessed (see Fig. 7.1).

The majority of these intentions were proposed to build up the wind power stations situated in wind parks, which were located not only in wide open spaces but also in built-up areas. Other projects suggested some wind parks in the same areas or nearby areas. Nevertheless, they usually have been assessed individually. A challenge for impact assessment is therefore to distinguish the limits of the study area and to determine all the connected projects to judge effects as well as possible.