School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, MSc in Environmental Management and Sustainability
In 2011 with law 4014/2011 Greek legislation regarding the assessment of effects of certain public and private projects on the environment was revised with the aim of improving the effectiveness of the country’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System. However, five years since its issuing, no evaluation has taken place to establish whether this legislative reform achieved its aims. Furthermore, since 2011 the EIA Directive has been amended twice, raising the question of whether Law 4014/2011 conforms to the revised EU EIA regulations. Based on the above the aim of this thesis is to review Law 4014/2011 conformance with new EIA Directive, identifying potential areas requiring amendments as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of the country’s EIA System. The methodology involved an exhaustive legislative review juxtaposing the EU and Greek legislative provisions. This was followed by a structured evaluation using the Oxford Brookes Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) quality evaluation criteria checklist of a sample of over 100 EIS from all over Greece. Finally, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the EIA system more holistically, a National survey was conducted, involving key EIA stakeholders (EIA Specialists and Environmental Authorities regional as well as in the ministry officials).
Key findings of this research are summarized below. According to the EISs quality evaluation results, the majority of EISs seem to perform poorly, meaning below the average grade of 2.5, when compared against the 92 Oxford Brookes Best Practice Requirements criteria. However, EIS they seem to perform relatively better, meaning they pass the average grade (3), when evaluated solely against the minimum EIA legislative requirements criteria as stipulated by EU Directive. The most significant weaknesses are located in the Alternatives, Non-technical Summary and Mitigation measure categories. Most of the EISs follow a specific template but the methods of assessment and the data presented are not justified. As concerns the results of the National Survey conducted among various stakeholders involved in the EIA process, the vast majority of the respondents believe that the Environmental Licensing process is not applied effectively in Greece. The most significant reason for the insufficiency of the EIA system according to stakeholders was the fact that the supporting tools prescribed in the legislation (e.g. Electronic Environmental Registry) have yet to been activated.