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THE ENVIRONMENT

Activities with an impact on the environment

Menéndez & Asociados Abogados SLP offers advice on dealing with the public authority procedures for obtaining environmental permits and licences in accordance with National Law 16/2002 of July 1st on the integrated prevention and control of pollution and regional laws on these matters; and on all issues deriving from the implementation of these provisions (provisional and interim measures affecting the carrying on of the activity, review procedures, etc.)

We also provide advice to local authorities on drafting their regulations on matters of integrated control and in general on the various issues raised by the applicable rules (EU, national and regional) including relations with other public authorities.

We also handle declarations of the environmental impact of public works and strategic assessment of plans and programmes.

Water

One of the areas in which the firm has acted in a great number of cases is precisely that of legal matters regarding water.

In this branch of the law we provide advice on any question concerning what is known as the integrated water cycle.

The following aspects, among others, should be emphasised:

Water allocations for various uses, particularly industrial use and the generation of electricity and supply to the public (obtaining, amendment, expiry, analysis of any conditions that may be imposed including: compensation water, fishways, water flow limiting devices, penalty proceedings);

Declaration of mineral waters and approval of their use;

Desalination and reuse;

Sewage discharges, both into public waterways and public drainage systems (authorisations, penalty proceedings); regulations on discharges into the system;

Taxation associated with the use or consumption of water;

Authorisation and legalisation of works in public waterway monitoring areas; urban planning and areas liable to flooding.

Waste and soil contamination

The correct management of waste is a complex activity that requires special attention on the part of companies. Our firm offers preventive advice on the obligations imposed on producing companies, and also on those affecting waste management and transportation companies.

This advice also extends to proceedings already in progress, whether of a penalty nature or concerning liability for damages, approval of by-products or approval of business plans aimed at prevention, agreements and authorisations concerning the regulation of packaging and packaging waste, among others.

Royal Decree 9/2005 of January 14th is of particular relevance in this respect. This decree lays down a list of activities that may contaminate the soil and the criteria and standards for declarations of soil as being contaminated, together with the obligation to present preliminary situation reports deriving from this. The presentation of these reports frequently involves public authority procedures for the detailed assessment of the quality of the soil (usually industrial) in order to declare the soil as being contaminated and to establish maintenance obligations.

The firm also offers advice on the handling of these procedures and the connection between the quality of the land and its classification and urban development uses.

Air, noise and light pollution

To the extent to which environmental law also regulates air, noise and light pollution, the firm provides advice on compliance with limits on emission and immision of pollutants in the atmosphere, European Union Emission Trade Scheme, the cataloguing of pollution sites and compliance with ongoing obligations.

We also deal with adapting activities to the regulations concerning noise and light pollution and we make proposals for the drafting of bylaws on noise.

Finally penalty proceedings deriving from the application of these regulations and legal defence against charges of environmental offences are also matters handled by the firm.

Others

MENÉNDEZ & ASOCIADOS ABOGADOS also provides advice on matters of environmental liability, regulated mainly by Law 26/2007 of October 23rd on environmental liability. It also advises on matters concerning areas of natural interest, protected species of fauna and flora and their relationship to the carrying on of business activities.

Of special interest, due to its particular features and the important impact it has on decision-making, is advice on relations between the various public authorities with powers in matters of environmental protection and planning, and the co-ordination there has to be between this sectorial planning and urban development plans and town and country planning.