Environmental matters have become a daily consideration for both policy makers and the private sector as regulation is constantly changing and expanding to safeguard the environment with a view to ensuring the wellbeing of present and future generations. The European Union has been particularly active in this area, having promulgated an intricate network of directives, decisions and regulations which add up to around 500 pieces of legislation, some of which implement international conventions, and most of which are reflected in Maltese law. The main areas of environmental law and policy are discussed below.
The main areas which are dealt with by EU Environmental Legislation are the following:
- ‘Horizontal’ Legislation (legislation on various matters which cut across different environmental subject areas);
- Biodiversity and Nature Protection;
- Water Protection;
- Noise Pollution;
- Air Pollution;
- Climate Change;
- Waste Management;
- Chemicals; and
- Trade and Industrial Pollution.
Legislation in the abovementioned areas is interrelated, both between the various environmental sectors themselves and with other EU sectors such as energy, agriculture, transport, industry and others, reflecting the EU overriding objective of promoting sustainable development as well as the mandate laid down by the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) which requires that all proposals by the Commission must be based on a high level of environmental protection.
Most EU legislation in this area has been transposed into Maltese law primarily through the Environment & Development Planning Act (EDPA) (Chapter 504 of the Laws of Malta) and the Environment Protection Act (Chapter 549 of the Laws of Malta). These two main acts are, however, supplemented by a myriad of additional legal instruments which contain specific details relating to the particular subject-area they are regulating.
The main regulatory authorities tasked with various aspects of environmental regulation are the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA), the Malta Resources Authority (MRA) and the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA).
Equinox is one of a handful of firms in Malta which specialise in the environmental sector. We have extensive experience advising clients in both the public and private sector on environmental policy and regulatory matters in relation to all major areas of environmental law both in Malta and in Europe.
Equinox offers the following services:
- Advising the public sector on environmental policy;
- Carrying out studies and research on environmental law, policy and implementation;
- Advising the private sector on compliance with environmental legislation, reporting requirements and liability;
- Advising clients undertaking major projects in renewable energy, waste management, carbon reduction, utility supply and procurement of energy infrastructure;
- Assisting a prospective applicant in relation to any licence required;
- Assisting clients in discussions with the MEPA and other relevant authorities;
- Assisting clients in procedural matters relating to obtainment of permits, especially where environmental impact assessments are required;
- Litigation relating to the environmental sector;
- Drafting of any commercial agreements required, including confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements;
- Malta company incorporation and ancillary services;
- Provision of tax advice as necessary;
- Assistance in the event of a merger / acquisition;
- Assistance in employment matters;
- Assistance in data protection matters; and
- Registration of trademarks and domain names.