What are the general measures by which air pollution control is attempted ?
The main provisions regulating air pollution control are to be found in Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EPA), under art. 7 and 8. In general, the measures adopted for the abatement of air pollution include:
(i) prior authorization of pollution-causing activities,
(ii) definition of emission standards,
(iii) zoning and regulation of fixed and movable pollution sources. Depending on the kind of activity, special regulations exist.
Law 1327/1983 regulates preconditions and competent authorities for the issuing of contingency plans tackling atmospheric pollution according to pollution sources and provides for designation of areas as degraded environment areas in cases of major emergencies, unusual deterioration of environmental quality or necessity for the protection of human health.
What are the criteria by which specific measures for the protection of the atmosphere are laid down ?
Restrictions and measures by project category and areas affected are imposed on existing and new projects and activities as defined in Article 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and on any other activities which may cause air quality degradation. These restrictions and measures vary according to the kind and size of the project or activity, their importance to the national economy, and whether they are regulating new projects or activities.
What are the relevant competent Greek Authorities for the implementation of environmental protection measures ?
The authorities primarily responsible for the enforcement of these measures and the control of air pollution are
(i) the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, mainly through the network of air quality monitoring stations,
(ii) the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transportation and Networks through licensing and pollution control over movable pollution sources,
(iii) the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness through licensing and pollution controls of industrial units and
(iv) the Ministry of Citizens Protection through enforcement of legislation imposing sanctions to polluters.
How is air quality monitor effected ?
The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate change establishes a national network of stations to monitor atmospheric quality. The existing atmospheric quality monitoring stations form part of the national network and new monitoring stations operating under public authorities also participate in the national network and harmonize their standards accordingly.
Guide and limit values for atmospheric quality, sampling and analysis methods, frequency of sampling, time schedules for the above and any other detail relevant to air quality are decided by Acts of the Cabinet, following submissions by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Environment.
Stricter limit values can be also imposed by Acts of the Cabinet in the case of more sensitive ecosystems or because of the presence of cultural heritage elements.
In view of the implementation of Directive 2008/50/EC in Greek legal order, air quality plans are established where, in given zones or agglomerations, the levels of pollutants in ambient air exceed any limit value or target value set there under. Within this framework, short term action plans may be adopted in order to suspend activities which contribute to the risk of the respective limit values or target values in relation to motor-vehicle traffic, construction works, ships at berth, and the use of industrial plants or products and domestic heating inter alia.
What are the possible restrictions which may be imposed on (a) industrial and relevant activities and (b) central heating systems ?
(a) For projects in industry, in the manufacturing business, in quarrying and mining, agriculture, animal breeding, commerce, tourism, energy and for any type of combustion or open fire, storage and transportation of loose materials and for projects generating smells in general, the following restrictions and measures may be applied :
1 safety distances; 2 application of anti-pollution technology; 3 use of specific raw and assisting materials and fuels; 4 limit values for gaseous atmospheric effluent emissions; 5 specific working hours; 6 installation of instruments to monitor the quality and quantity of gaseous atmospheric effluent emissions, to monitor fuels as well as raw and assisting materials; 7 installation of instruments to monitor combustion; 8 definition of methods, conditions and frequency of sampling and analysis of parameters referring to the quality of the used fuels, raw and assisting materials and gaseous atmospheric effluent emissions; 9 methods to eliminate smells; 10 definition of chimney heights and 11 product quality standards.
(b) In case of systems of central heating, the following are provided :
1 limit values for gaseous atmospheric effluent emissions; 2 maintenance and tuning of central heating installations; 3 use of specific fuels; 4 thermal insulation of hot-water boilers and pipes; 5 application of automated systems to regulate the function of boilers; 6 definition of chimney heights and chimney manufacturing details; 7 use of smoke-collectors; 8 qualifications and obligations of professionals working in maintenance.
The abovementioned measures and restrictions are nevertheless only indicative and further measures and restrictions could be imposed.
What is more, a number of Cabinet Acts and ministerial decisions have been issued, many in compliance with European Union Directives, which regulate emissions from fixed sources, e.g. set the measures and conditions for the reduction of atmospheric pollution by large combustion plants, the control of major accident hazards of certain industrial activities, the prevention of air pollution from municipal waste incineration plants, the control of pollution by lignite-generated electric power stations managed by the National Electric Company in the Prefectures of Kozani and Florina, the operation of certain metal process industries’ procedures in Athens, the use of diesel oil in part of the Prefecture of Attiki, terms for the operation and the fuels used by bakeries’ furnaces, the allowed fuel types for all industrial activities, hospital incineration installations and open fires, the operation of furnaces for the heating of buildings and water.
What are the main measures and restrictions provided for (a) motor vehicles and machinery and (b) installations and means of transport, storage, distribution and trade of fuels and explosives ?
(a) In the case of motor vehicles and machinery, the measures and restrictions may include: 1 limit values for gaseous atmospheric effluent emissions; 2 manufacturing standards for motor vehicles and machinery either produced in the country or imported so as to make sure they are fitted with devices reducing polluting emissions; 3 relevant obligations on imports and marketing of spare parts and equipment; 4 relevant obligations on the maintenance and repair industries (specification of equipment and qualifications of personnel); 5 use of gas and ‘clean’ fuels and 6 traffic restrictions.
Other important law relevant to air quality control is the Road Traffic Code (Law 2696/1999) providing for the reduction of motor vehicle emissions.
(b) For installations and means of transport, storage, distribution and trade of fuels and explosives, application of systems to reduce gaseous atmospheric effluent emissions and safety measures and distances are required.
Various pieces of legislation, including European Union Directives, provide for maximum emission levels from movable pollution sources, e.g. fuel quality standards – lead content of petrol, sulphur content of petrol, maximum levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC), emissions from motor vehicles fitted with petrol engines, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption of motor vehicles, measures to reduce gaseous atmospheric effluent emissions from petrol or diesel engines to be fitted on or from motor vehicles, anti-pollution standards for passenger cars, anti-pollution standards for cars weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, fuel consumption of motor vehicles, frequency of periodic roadworthiness safety tests for motor vehicles.
What are the criteria according to which limit values are set ?
Limit values for gaseous atmospheric effluents are set according to the best available technology not involving excessive costs and they may refer to any pollutant regardless of whether specific air quality standards have been set for this pollutant or not.
Furthermore, European Union legislation in human activities affecting air quality introduces specific national emission ceilings for certain pollutants (emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia (NH3)).
Limit values for all kinds of pollutants emitted from industrial installations and activities in general are also provided for by Presidential Decree 1180/1981.
Where does the term “industrial noise” refer to under Greek law ?
Industrial noise may be defined as the noise emissions produced by industrial and relevant activities both from fixed installations as well as movable sources. On the contrary the term does not comprise noise from domestic activities or places of entertainment and recreation in general, such as theatres, cinemas, sports grounds.
What is the legal framework provided under Greek law ?
The relevant provisions regulating noise emissions under Greek law are to be found in numerous pieces of legislation, depending on the source of noise emissions and activity. The main legal framework is provided under art. 14 of the Environmental Protection Act 1985, Presidential Decree 1180/1981 and various European Union instruments, mainly on the subject matter of noise emissions from motor vehicles and equipment used outdoors.
What are the measures and restrictions concerning industrial noise emissions from fixed sources under Greek law ?
Activities and projects generating noise are in particular industrial, manufacturing, quarrying or mining activities, construction plants, laboratories, any type of engineering installations. All new and existing activities and projects are classified into categories according to their effects on the environment. These activities and projects are subject to restrictions and protection measures issued by joint ministerial decisions concerning : 1 limit values of noise emissions into the environment; 2 methods of measuring noise; 3 ways of reducing noise and vibrations and methods of measuring their effectiveness; 4 specific working hours; 5 installation of instruments monitoring noise levels and 6 minimum distances from dwellings and areas of public gatherings. For industrial installations requiring prior Environmental Impact Studies, the relevant limit values are found in Presidential Decree 1180/1981.
What are the measures and restrictions concerning industrial noise emissions from movable sources under Greek law ?
Production, import, trade and use of any motor vehicle, machinery and equipment which produce noise nuisances or are sound-generating, are restricted according to joint ministerial decisions taken by the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. These decisions especially regulate (i) the limit values for sound and vibration emission levels, (ii) the methods for measuring them, (iii) the authorization procedure as well as (iv)the specific conditions or even the prohibition in production, import, trade and use. In the case of major or special projects, motor vehicles, machinery and equipment can be exempted from the previous restrictions by similar decisions.
For motor vehicles, European Union instruments with a view to unifying the single market in the trade of automobiles lay down limits for the noise level of the mechanical parts and exhaust systems of vehicles. Similar legislation is provided for motorcycle and aircraft noise.
European Union legislation is particularly active in the case of outdoors machinery. Pursuant to Directive 2000/14/EC, more than 50 types of equipment used outdoors, such as lawnmowers, compressors, excavator – loaders, saws, mixers, etc are regulated, imposing harmonised limit values for noise emissions and requiring labeling and declaration of conformity on the part of the manufacturer prior to circulation in internal market. However for non-powered attachments that are separately placed on the market or put into service, all equipment intended for the transport of goods or persons by public road or rail or by air or on waterways and equipment designed and constructed for use by the police or the military, the noise emission standards are assessed by national Greek law.
What are the criteria for determining limit values for noise emission levels ?
Limit values for noise emission levels in urban areas and the permissible sound levels in noise-abatement zones are determined by the criterion of nuisance minimization and the resulting protection of human health. These limit values and the methods of measuring noise emissions are set by presidential decree issued after proposals put forward by the Minister of Health and Social Solidarity and the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
What does Greek law provide for noise-abatement zones ?
Noise-abatement zones are designated by joint ministerial decisions (i)around existing or newly-founded industrial installations, (ii)around or alongside areas used for transportation (especially roads, ports, airports), (iii)around archaeological sites and sites of historic interest, (iv)around dwellings, and (v)around areas used for rest, health care, education and cultural activities.
The same ministerial decisions provide for the geographical limits of the zones, the necessary noise-abatement measures, the parties liable, criteria for the planning of new installations or activities, terms and conditions for further development of other activities within the noise-abatement zones and any other details.
Is Greece party to the Kyoto Protocol ?
With Law 3017/2002 Greece has ratified and thus is fully bound by the Kyoto Protocol. Furthermore, it is one of the 39 parties that are bound by an absolute quantitive limit of greenhouse gas emissions.
How is Greece’s Climate Change strategy effected ?
Greece adopts and pursues the collective goals in reducing greenhouse gas emissions set by the European Union. Within this framework, Greece is bound to achieve at least a reduction by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Furthermore, a reduction of 80-95% is set as goal until 2050, as laid down in Intergrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive.
What does the European greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme provide ?
Greece implemented Directive 2003/87/EC by which any installation carrying out activities in the energy sector, iron and steel production and processing, the mineral industry and the wood pulp, paper and board industry and also the airline activities, emitting greenhouse gases associated with that activity must be in possession of an appropriate permit issued by the competent authorities in order to operate.
What are the competent Greek Authorities ?
The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change is the competent authority to issue the relevant permits and more specifically the Office for Trading Gas Emissions, after application of the interested party. The National Centre of Environment and Sustainable Development establishes a registry where the issue, retrieval, possession and cancelation of the gas emission permits are registered.
When is the permit issued ?
The authorities will issue a permit provided they are satisfied that the operator of the installation is capable of monitoring and reporting the emissions. A permit may cover one or more installations on the same site operated by the same operator and are reexamined at least every five years subject to the necessary modifications. The application of the operator must describe :
(i) the installation, its activities and the technology used
(ii) the materials used which could emit the greenhouse gases
(iii) the sources of gas emissions
(iv) the measures planned to monitor and report emissions.