Environmental Protection Law in China, new important change

Environmental Protection Law in China, new important change

From our branch IC&Partners Asia

From January 2015 China has a new Environmental Protection Law which reformed the previous Law approved on 1989, introducing important new rules: a strong increase of penalties for those who violate the regulations, the extension of the type of projects that require an environmental impact assessment, the requirement for more transparency in reporting environmental data, the legitimacy of NGOs as entities that, on behalf of public interest, may take legal action against companies that pollute.
In particular, compared to the law of 1989, the Environmental Protection Law, on one hand states daily sanctions throughout the entire period in which the company does not meet the requirements of protection of the territory, on the other hand provides tax incentives for companies that develop environmental technologies.
In addition, the new law requires that all projects requiring environmental impact assessment should be made known by public, in order to allow the local entities to object the construction of pollutant plants  or to require adequate warranties about their environmental impact.
In line with the new anti-corruption policy introduced by President Xi Jinping, this law also states serious penalties for those government officials who do not enforce the law or that grant permits to projects not in line with the environmental parameters established by the law.
An important role will be played by some 300 NGOs that aim to protect the environment and are registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs: even the Supreme Court of China recently stated that China will give more support to NGOs in their complaints to the Court against those who break the rules related to environment protection.

Furthermore, in late August 2015 it was approved a reform of law related to air pollution which gives more powers to the inspection authorities to punish those responsible for the pollution produced by coal-fired plants, states a direct responsibility of local governments in the improvement of environmental quality and punishes those who provide false information on data related to pollution.