At the end of 2017, Sunce filed a lawsuit against the Administrative Court in Split requesting the annulment of the decision of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy on environmental acceptability to change the construction of the Waste Management Center (CCE, Center) Lučino razdolje in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
Sunce primarily based its legal position on the fact that the change of the Center was planned without accurate data on the capacity, cost-effectiveness and justification of such a plant and its relationship to environmental damage. Namely, the Government itself assessed CCE Lučino razdolje as a project that has not yet been harmonized with positive regulations and for which it is necessary to make a cost-effectiveness audit by the end of this year.
However, the Ministry did not share the Government’s position (as is unusual for the Republic of Croatia) and grossly ignored the obligations assumed by the Republic of Croatia through relevant EU directives when issuing a Decision stating that no additional environmental impact assessment was needed.
We note that the Center must be organized in a way that meets the obligations of the Law on Sustainable Waste Management and that it must be financially viable. The decision does not explain in a single word how the Center will fulfill these obligations, which also refer to high percentages of waste recycling. It seems that the Ministry and the country do not care whether we dispose of 50,000 tons of mixed waste or 150,000 tons in the karst area where the Center is planned.
Accordingly, the Ministry accepts the removal of the waste sorting plant from the project (the sorting plant is an important part of the plant that is implementing the idea of recycling all valuable waste components) and presents it to the Court as a positive reduction of spatial intervention regardless of the purpose of the plant – waste management. And the name itself says: Waste Management Center. However, not any management is possible here – the Law provides for sustainable management, which has its foundation in a well-organized system of collecting the same waste, which was not mentioned in the project documents.
We remind you that waste is the greatest burden on our environment and that we are increasingly witnessing the devastating effects of unregulated landfills and hasty decisions in dealing with the biggest problem of modern man.
Apart from the reasons why Sunce argued why the project does not meet the requirements of waste management regulations, there are other reasons related to a number of procedural omissions made by the Ministry in the procedure (disregard for cross-border impact on BiH, violation of Aarhus Convention, ..).
Despite the well-elaborated and evidence-based position of Sunce, the Administrative Court issued a verdict in early July rejecting the claim of Sunce and confirming the Ministry’s decision and ordering Sunce to pay HRK 6,250.00 to the interested party.
As Sunce still insists that it is not enough to say that the project has no impact on the environment and that environmental impact assessments must be carried out taking into account all the facts and the purpose of the project (in this case responsible waste management), an appeal was filed this week with the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia, the outcome of which we will inform you about on our website.