Environmental impact assessment of the highways and roads construction

Construction of highways refers to the types of activities that constitute an increased ecological hazard to the environment and, accordingly, can have a significant impact on the environment. Therefore, activities related to the construction or reconstructions of highways require an ecological research of the impact on the human health and environment. Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Impact Assessment” specifies the types of activities that are subject to obligatory EIA (environmental impact assessment), namely construction, expansion or reconstruction:

– highways of general use state and local importance with four or more lanes (also in the case of extension or reconstruction of up to four lanes), provided they extend from 10 km or more;

– highways;

– first-class highways.

The aforementioned activities belong to the first category of activities and objects that may have a significant impact on the environment through which the documents in the EIA process will be sent to the central authority – the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine.

Before to the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On EIA”, the environmental impact assessment in the construction or reconstruction of highways was carried out as part of the projection as chapter of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The relevant requirements are given in SBC (state building codes) A.2.2-1-95 “Composition and content of materials for environmental impact assessment (EIA) in the design and construction of enterprises, buildings and structures. Basic design provisions.”

The highway is regarded as an object that carries out transport function and affects the environment during construction and traffic. In the construction of traffic, the soil is damaged to lay the road itself and to accommodate temporary or permanent structures and construction equipment. If agrochemical researches indicate the presence of a fertile soil layer on a land plot where a road construction is planned, it should be removed and transferred to a specially designated storage place. Disturbed land from construction works is significantly affected by pollination, soil or groundwater disruption. After the constructional works would be completed the road will be in service for vehicles that are the sources of atmospheric air pollution.

In the case of construction of an overpass through a water object, the impact extends to the reservoir and hydrobionts, due to which additional investigations on the impact on the ichthyofauna water object.

An assessment of the impact of construction or reconstruction of highways on the environment begins with:

  1. Preparation of the notification on planned activity, which is subject to an assessment of the environmental impact. The notification is downloaded to the Register of EIA and published in at least two print media for local residents to be informed about the planned activities of the business entity.
  2. Conducting agrochemical studies to determine the presence of a fertile soil layer and, if necessary, ichthyological studies to determine the impact on the main groups of ichthyofauna.
  3. Preparation of a report on the environmental impact assessment, taking into account the comments and propositions received from the public and the results of the research conducted. The Report on Environmental Impact Assessment Report is also posted in the Register of EIA;
  4. Preparation of the announcement of the public hearings of the report on the environmental impact assessment and its publication in the register of EIA and printed publications;
  5. Conduct a public discussion of the report on the EIA. For organizing and conducting public discussion, the business entity pays an official fee to the central authority. According to the results of the public discussion of the EIA report, it prepares and uploads a public discussion report to the EIA registry.
  6. At the same time as the report on public discussion, an opinion on the environmental impact assessment is published in the EIA registry. Obtaining an opinion on the environmental impact assessment is the final stage of the EIA procedure.

MCL carries out an assessment of the environmental impact “on a turn-key basis”: from the development of a notification on planned activities that is subject to an environmental impact assessment, before obtaining a conclusion on the environmental impact assessment. More about the peculiarities of conducting an environmental impact assessment for the types of activities subject to the EIA, you can find in the news section.

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