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Legalization of activities

Law 20/2009 of 4th of December, on environmental prevention and control of activities, repealing Law 3/1998 on integrated intervention of the environmental administration and the former Law on classified activities, establishes in Catalonia a new model of government intervention of activities likely to affect the environment and the health and safety of people.

This law classifies these activities into three groups according to their environmental impact, being these high, moderate or low, so that any activity should undergo the process of authorization, license or environmental communication, respectively.

To obtain an authorization, license or environmental communication, together with the proposed activity project, one must present an Environmental Assessment, which is made from a standardized model of the Department of Planning and Sustainability.

The Environmental Assessment should reflect the environmental effects and results of the activity and therefore it should include a description of the facilities, processes, raw and auxiliary materials, consumption of natural resources and energy, products and an inventory of emissions of all kinds and their impact on the environment. These impacts should be assessed not only in normal conditions but also while the activity is operating under abnormal conditions, incidents and/or accidents.

Once the Environmental Assessment is completed, this needs to pass the verification procedure, which can only be done by a controlling entity accredited by the Department of Planning and Sustainability or by an environmental verifier accredited by an official body of the EU.

After this verification procedure, and depending on whether an authorisation, license or environmental communication is needed, the Environmental Assessment has to be submitted to the City Council where the activity is located, which then will emit the resolution.

In the case of the environmental authorization (for activities with a high potential impact), the City Council has to submit the resolution to the Catalan Government (Generalitat) which will be finally granting the authorization.

In the case of the environmental license (moderate impact), the City Council grants the license after a binding report from the administration of the Government or County Council.

In the case of the environmental communication (low impact), the City Council completes all the procedures and no other approval is needed.

Throughout this application process, ECAFIR, S.L. writes the Environmental Assessment requested by the company which must obtain an authorization, license or communication to carry out a new activity. Once the document is completed ECAFIR, S.L. submits it to an accredited environmental verifier before presenting it to the corresponding City Council.