Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (further also referred to as “EIA”) is a process, which ensures that projects that are likely to have a significant effect on the environment are adequately assessed before they are allowed to proceed and facilitates the participation of relevant authorities and the public in environmental decision making. Environmental Impact Assessment system in Lithuania is largely based on transposition and implementation of Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (amended by Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014), usually referred to as the “Environmental Impact Assessment Directive”.

Lithuanian EIA legislation consists of the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Economic Activity, setting out the general principles and requirements for EIA and a number of Governmental Decisions and Orders of the Minister of Environment, containing further more detailed and comprehensive provisions. The main legislative documents are listed below:

  • Law on Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Economic Activity of the Republic of Lithuania;
    • Regulations on Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Economic Activity (approved by Order of the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania No. D1-885 of October 31, 2017);
    • Regulations on Screening for Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Economic Activity (approved by Order of the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania No. D1-845 of October 16, 2017);
    • Regulations on Determination of Significance of the Effects of Implementation of Plans, Programs and Proposed Economic Activity on the Established or Potential „Natura 2000” Territories (approved by Order of the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania No. D1-255 of May 22, 2006).

Annexes I and II to the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Economic Activity of the Republic of Lithuania (further referred to as “Law on EIA”)  list the types of proposed economic activities that fall under the scope of EIA legislation.

Types of proposed economic activities listed in Annex I are those that have significant effects on the environment and which, as a rule, shall be subject to environmental impact assessment.

Types of proposed economic activities listed in Annex II do not necessarily have significant effects on the environment in every case and thus are not automatically subjected to an environmental impact assessment. For these activities, the procedure of screening is performed by the competent authority – Environmental Protection Agency, which determines on a case-by-case basis whether EIA is required according to a number of criteria, such as size, location and potential impact of an activity, etc.

There is an additional mechanism for deciding if a proposed economic activity shall be subject to environmental impact assessment, which is based on determination if an activity might have significant impacts on “Natura 2000” territories. This procedure is not applied for activities listed in Annex I to the Law on EIA, since they are subject to environmental impact assessment regardless. For the types of activities listed in Annex II to the Law on EIA and other economic activities (not included in the Annexes to the Law on EIA), which are proposed for implementation in a “Natura 2000” territory or in the surrounding environment, relevant authority, responsible for organization of protection and management of „Natura 2000” territories determines if implementation of a proposed economic activity might have significant effects on „Natura 2000” territories and if therefore an environmental impact assessment is required.