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  • Amendment to the Building Act and Societies for the Protection of Nature and the Landscape

    25. 08. 2017

    On January 1st, 2018, the comprehensive amendment to the Building Act (No. 183/2006 Coll.) will come into effect, published under the number 225/2017 Coll. It is a comprehensive amendment to the Building Act, the goal of which is supposedly to make the permit process in the areas of land planning and building regulation faster and more effective and thus make building easier in the Czech Republic. Opponents of the amendment argue that this change is happening needlessly at the expense of the procedural rights of the participants of the proceedings or, rather, civil society in general.

    One of the important aspects of this amendment is the limiting of the participation of societies (formerly civic associations) founded for the purpose of nature and landscape protection, who, according to the current law, may step in as parties to administrative proceedings which may in some way affect the interests of nature and the landscape, which is to say even into administrative proceedings led under the Building Act (land-use planning, building permits, etc.). According to the supporters of the amendment, it was because of the activities of these nature preservation societies that some proceedings took a disproportionately long time to complete.

    These societies (formerly civic associations) will therefore lose their aforementioned right once the amendment comes into effect, and will only be able to participate in proceedings led under the Act for the Protection of Nature and Natural Resources (Act No. 114/1992 Coll.), not in proceedings under the Building Act. It´s precisely this aspect of the amendment which its opponents characterize as a disproportionate interference with constitutional rights and liberties and it is likely that the Constitutional Court will be judging its constitutionality in the future.

    For the sake of completeness we should add that when the amendment to the Building Act comes into effect, societies for the protection of nature and the landscape will retain the right to participate in proceedings as „affected public“ under the EIA process, which is primarily governed by the Act on Environment Impact Assessment (Act No. 100/2001 Coll.), and not the Building Act. The EIA, however, only provides for the assessment of plans and projects which can seriously affect the environment, and not of conventional building projects.

    Since the new rules which follow from this amendment of the Building Act will only apply to proceedings started in 2018, the applicants may choose to strategically postpone the applications which would likely be contested by the public until the amendment comes into effect.

    If you have any questions concerning the aforementioned amendment, please contact us.

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