“Can be trimmed to one year”

The tests of environmental permits for, for example, industries and other activities that affect the climate and the environment can be shorter and more effective, according to the Government’s investigation.

Mines, wind farms, limestone quarries, steelworks.

In recent years, there have been many complaints from, among others, the business community about long and complicated processes that it is not possible to predict in advance how they will end. They have also been pointed out as obstacles to climate change.

The processes leading up to the decision on permits will be more efficient and more predictable the idea behind the Environmental Assessment Inquiry. It should also make it possible to increase the pace of change.

The investigation was made by Peter Ardö, Chief Counsel at the Land and Environmental Court in Växjö. He emphasizes that the task has not been to make proposals that at the same time risk weakening the examination.

Nor is it the environmental requirements or what they should look like that Ardö and his employees have seen, but how the process for environmental assessment works.

Lime quarry at Cementa’s production in Slite. Photo: Karl Melander / TT

The inquiry, which has now been handed over to Minister of Climate and Environment Annika Strandhäll (S), puts forward 30 proposals that together can contribute to making shorter trials possible.

No to priority

However, the inquiry refrains from proposing that projects that can have a major positive climate impact should be able to take the lead in the test queue. Such proposals are sometimes put forward in the debate with regard to, for example, battery factories and facilities for the production of fossil-free steel.

– We do not suggest priority, it is not a good system. It is better to boost the system, says Peter Ardö and likens it to the fact that it would not go so fast in the queue for the security check at Arlanda if many people went there.

Ardö says that there are myths about how long the processes really are today.

– A normal trial period is 1–1.5 years, the majority is not completely under the ice.

– Three quarters may apply for a permit, those who receive a rejection decision are a minority, he also says.

The inquiry does not submit an absolute proposal that permits should be limited in time and reconsidered completely, again, after a certain period of time. Instead, a notification of a change of permit shall be the main rule.

There are time thieves

Annika Strandhäll emphasizes that the inquiry is an important part of the government’s work to increase the pace of climate change.

– There is a lot that works, but there are time thieves. There is room to shorten the longer lead times and at the same time increase predictability, says Strandhäll.

– It is very interesting that you emphasize the importance of well-conducted consultations. This is a factor in avoiding ending up in the supplement swamp, says Strandhäll with address investigator Ardö.

By the swamp, she refers to an expression that the investigator uses about processes where the data is not complete from the beginning and cases must be supplemented.

The inquiry proposes that courts should make more use of schedules so that everyone involved knows what time frames are available for their participation, submissions and consultation responses in a case.

The commission’s 30 proposals combine proposals for changed and new rules with increased guidance and dialogue between different actors to make processes smoother.

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The Government’s investigator Peter Ardö has 30 proposals for making applications for climate and environmental assessment of, for example, industries shorter and more efficient. Minister of Climate and Environment Annika Strandhäll (S) will take the proposals further.

Photo: Lars Larsson / TT


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