On 20 March 2018, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted Law No. 2354-VIII "On Strategic Environmental Assessment" (the "Law"). The Law will be enacted on 12 October 2018.
One of the many provisions of the Law will substantially affect the construction sector in Ukraine. In particular, the Law contains a provision requiring mandatory public consultations on draft urban planning documents at the local level, such as general urban plans, zoning plans, and detailed territory plans, with respect to matters of strategic environmental assessment ("SEA").
SEA will be conducted for projects in agriculture, forestry, fishery, energy, manufacturing industry, transport, waste management, utilization of water resources, environmental protection, telecommunications, tourism, urban planning and land development, as well as projects the implementation of which will require the types of activities (or which involve the types of activities and facilities) to be carried out under a statutory procedure for environmental impact assessment, or the types of activities requiring assessment due to implications for territories, nature reserve fund areas and sites, and the ecological network.
SEA customers will be local government agencies and public authorities and will have to ensure:
1) public disclosure at the local level of the adopted decisions related to development of urban planning documents, including the anticipated legal, economic, environmental and public health impact;
2) public disclosure at the local level of draft urban planning documents, explanatory statement, "Environmental Protection" section, and SEA report on their official websites;
3) registration, consideration and incorporation of proposals of the public into the draft urban planning documents at the local level;
4) holding public hearings on draft urban planning documents at the local level;
5) handling of controversial issues raised in the course of the discussions between the public and the customers of urban planning documents at the local level through a reconciliation committee;
6) public disclosure at the local level of the results of consideration of proposals received from the public regarding the draft urban planning documents.
The Law prescribes that the results of consideration of proposals of the public on the draft urban planning documents are to be publicly disclosed within two weeks after acceptance of the proposals by way of publications made in mass media locally or by way of publishing respective decisions on the official websites of customers of the urban planning documents.
Since some provisions of the Law are somewhat ambiguous, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources has already prepared its guidelines for implementation of the Law. Such guidelines can be found here (the "Guidelines").
According to the Guidelines, a SEA public consultation certificate and the minutes of public hearings are to be drafted based on the results of public consultations on SEA-related matters.
Under the Law, within 5 business days after approval, the SEA customer must publish the approved urban planning documents, public consultation certificate and public hearing certificate on its official website and must accordingly notify in writing the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. Following that, the procedure will be deemed complete.
In our opinion, implementation of the Law will lengthen the process of development and approval of the urban planning documents (including the detailed territory plans) and, consequently, will require greater time input into construction projects.