A new decree-law has changed Portugal's legal framework for the enactment of the EU emissions trading scheme. Accompanying legislation created the Portuguese Carbon Fund, which will manage the country's applications for emission credits and monitor its compliance with its Kyoto Protocol obligations.
Law 58/2005 establishes a new institutional framework for water management policy in Portugal. The aim of the new law is to provide the means for the sustainable management and protection of water resources. Its measures are to be implemented by regional water management authorities administering territories based on Portugal's river basins.
A new decree-law regulates the introduction and cultivation of genetically modified organisms. The main purpose of the legislation is to make the biotechnological advances of the past decades compatible with the preservation of the environment, in particular Portugal's indigenous species, and of the country's natural agricultural resources.
The National Programme for Efficient Water Use, recently approved by the Council of Ministers in Resolution 113/2005, is intended to protect the environment, minimize the risk of water shortages and protect water as a vital industrial, economic and natural resource. It incorporates or implements both national and European legislation, including the EU Water Framework Directive.
Waste management has become one of the country's major concerns and is widely regarded as an urgent matter. It is hoped that the implementation of an integrated system of waste management will facilitate the swift adoption of adequate waste re-use and recycling procedures, with a view to reducing the quantity and toxicity of waste.
A recent decree-law provides for the creation of hazardous waste centres, and sets forth the licensing procedure for their installation and operation. It aims to ensure that the entities which are awarded permits have the capacity to install and operate the hazardous waste centres - a significant concern, given the environmentally sensitive nature of these centres.
It is essential to strike a fine balance between the development of biotechnologies and concerns about the health and safety of individuals and the environment. New Portuguese regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) aim to achieve this balance. Their correct application should guarantee the safe use of GMOs.
Including: Key Principles; Basic Law on the Environment; Environmental Impact Assessment Law; Law on Non-governmental Environmental Organizations; Instruments of Protection.
A new legal framework for industrial licensing is expected to create a more flexible licensing model by reducing conditions and simplifying procedures, all of which will allow more timely responses to company requests for the installation and development of industrial units. In some cases, applicants may now follow a simple environmental statement regime.
A recent decision of the Lisbon Court of Appeal, confirming that construction works on a private development project which had been licensed by the relevant authorities could nonetheless be halted, suggests that environmental cases are finally being taken seriously by the Portuguese courts.
Including: The Basic Law on Environment; Environmental Components; Human Environmental Components; Instruments of Protection; Penalties and Remedies