NEW ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS FOR SMEs
Draft Regulations avoid excessive administrative burden
A new set of draft General Binding Rules (GBRs) and Guidance Notes have been drawn up by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) with the aim of assisting small scale businesses to achieve compliance with national environmental laws while avoiding excessive administrative burden.
MEPA is currently in the process of implementing an environmental permit system, to introduce environmental standards of operation into different environmental sectors according to the level of risk. The standards which are the subject of this public consultation are directed towards activities that are of minimal risk, but that may constitute a significant local nuisance.
Progress has been made with those installations of major risk, which are currently being permitted as required under the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive. Medium risk and larger scale industrial activities are to be regulated under a different permitting system, where permits are issued with conditions that are site-specific and operation-specific.
Unless explicitly specified, enterprises of minimal environmental significance are exempt from control through a GBR or Permit.
This new GBR system, will require that selected micro-enterprises and SMEs are compliant to existing regulations in the areas of waste management, storage of materials and chemicals, emissions to the atmosphere and effluent discharges. These draft GBRs have been tailor-made to meet and address the different requirements and environmental concerns of the different sectors.
The SMEs that will be affected by these proposed GBR conditions are:
Prior to the formulation of these draft regulations, MEPA in collaboration with the business sector, carried out a six month pilot exercise with the aim of testing a system that reduces administrative burden for SMEs and provides an effective one-stop-shop regulatory service. This project was funded by the EU Transition Facility (2005) programme and was delivered through a Twinning 'light' arrangement.
Hotels (under 400 beds and lacking a marine discharge) and restaurants;
Engineering and metal products (including manufacture of electrical machinery, vehicles and other transport equipment);
Electronics and specialized equipment (including manufacture of office machinery and computers, radios and televisions, watches and clocks amongst others);
Furniture and wood products;
Rubber, plastics, glass and ceramics;
Motor vehicle and boat repair services;
Chemicals, fuels and gases (manufacturing plants and storage facilities);
Waste carriers as per LN 106 of 2007;
Waste brokers as per LN 106 of 2007;
Farms, stables and animal holding units as per LN 106 of 2007;
Medical, dental and veterinary clinics as per LN 106 of 2007;
Miscellaneous groups (specific sectors such as those involved in tanning and dressing of leather, storage and warehousing services, amongst others).
Guidance Notes have also been formulated that will assist and provide a better explanation of the environmental conditions specified in the GBRs. Both the GBRs and Guidance Notes are being made available on MEPA website www.mepa.org.mt/gbrs. The Authority is encouraging the public, NGOs and the business sector to provide feedback and comments on the proposed GBRs and Guidance Notes, prior to them being adopted through a legal notice.
The public and all other interested parties are invited to submit their comments throughout this public participation period through email address:firstname.lastname@example.org or by post mail to: MEPA, P.O. Box 200, Marsa, MRS 1000. The public participation period closes on the 07th December 2009.