Sunce was right: WMC Lećevica referred for a new environmental impact assessment procedure


For years we warned, fought before the courts, spent time, money, and nerves proving the truth, and our requests were rejected. However, now, according to the latest allegations, the Regional Centre for Clean Environment still needs to carry out the environmental impact assessment procedure (EIA). What good is it to us that we were right?

As a reminder, the Lećevica Waste Management Centre was assessed back in 2006 as an environmentally friendly project in the EIA procedure, despite numerous objections from citizens, environmental associations, and initiatives, including Sunce. Our objections then, as today, were mainly related to the harmfulness of waste fuels, the possible negative impact on underground karst landforms and water resources, and the poor and outdated concept of waste management that neglects the priorities in waste management – primarily separate waste collection and recycling and reducing waste generation. It is financially less favorable for citizens (LINK).

Due to the changes to the project, a new assessment procedure is being initiated on the need for an EIA screening process. Despite numerous objections, 2017 results in a decision establishing that changes to the project will not have likely impacts on the environment and that it is unnecessary to reconduct an EIA procedure.

Sunce accurately claimed that for the procedure it is necessary to carry out a new EIA procedure

Dissatisfied with this decision, Sunce, together with the association KEKS and the Municipality of Unešić, initiates an administrative dispute before the Administrative Court in Split and, after losing the dispute (LINK), initiates proceedings before the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia (LINK). These disputes lasted from 2017 to 2021 and, among other things, we particularly emphasized the misjudged capacities of the project and the need for mandatory implementation of the EIA procedure for changes to interventions with such consequences on the environment and human health as WMC Lećevica.


Taught by the experience of other waste management centers in Croatia, such as Marišćina and Kaštijun, Sunce insisted on a detailed approach and heightened attention in the planning and implementation of this project.

We shouldn’t ignore the fact that environmental cases that should be solved quickly, often develop extremely slowly. Instead of urgent action, we face bureaucratic setbacks, delays, and waste of valuable time.

Due to the judgment of the High Administrative Court, associations and municipalities had to cover the costs of the proceedings in the amount of HRK 25,000 (EUR 3,320)

The disputes ended with a concluding judgment of the High Administrative Court rejecting our claims. The courts’ views were that no environmental impact assessment was required for modifications to the intervention. In this, as well as in several other administrative disputes, we believe that the court disregarded the merits of the dispute, which would assess the quality of the prepared study and determine the material truth, but trusted the unfounded claims of the investor, that is, the producer of the environmental protection report and the commission that decides on the acceptability of environmental interventions.

Please note that the associations and the municipality were forced to cover the costs of the proceedings in the amount of HRK 25,000, despite the fact that the disputes were conducted to protect the public interest, human health, and the environment and that the claimants’ claims ultimately proved to be correct.

What does the new EIA procedure entail?

Namely, according to the latest allegations of Slobodna Dalmacija, the European Commission has warned the Regional Center of Clean Environment that for the WMC Lećevica intervention it is still necessary to carry out the EIA procedure. In accordance with EU rules, i.e. the conditions for co-financing of the European Commission and JASPERS, the Lećevica project belongs to the Major projects, given that the amount of bids received for selecting the contractors exceeds 50 million euros.

When it comes to environmental protection, this means that the project needs to carry out the EIA procedure. This implies the preparation of a comprehensive environmental impact study that will assess in detail all the consequences of the intervention on the environment, as well as appropriate environmental protection measures and environmental monitoring programs. The study also needs to be referred again for public consultation. In essence, this means that the 2017 study is not sufficient in itself, as we have emphasized before the judicial and EU bodies.

WMC Lećevica will not be able to respond to the demands of waste management of the entire county!

For many years we have been warning that it is necessary to establish a sustainable waste management system at the levels of local self-governments and that it is crucial to direct funds precisely towards achieving self-sufficiency and greater independence of waste management in cities and municipalities.

WMC Lećevica is still not a systematic solution and will not be able to respond to the demands of waste management of the entire county.

Landfill Karepovac Split has not yet been rehabilitated, containers for separate waste collection are being set up, but the percentage of separation is still poor because the serious approach to the establishment of a system for separate waste collection and its processing, and recycling is systematically neglected (LINK). Such systems can be found in numerous successful cities to which we have organized study trips (LINK). Containers for separate collection of biowaste are being procured using EU funds, while there is not a single composting plant in the County! Thus separately collected biowaste is disposed of with mixed municipal waste again in Karepovac! Disposal of these quantities of garbage without adequate infrastructure for waste separation and without the implementation of measures to reduce waste generation will very soon lead to the refilling of Karepovac to its maximum!

The construction of a composting plant and sorting facility and the establishment of a separate waste collection system in cities and municipalities is still in the Waste Management Plan of Split-Dalmatia County for the period from 2007 to 2015 (PGO SDŽ).

In addition, the Waste Management Plan of the City of Split for the period from 2017 to 2022, like its predecessor from 2008 to 2015, envisages the construction of a composting plant, but Split to this date does not have it!

Once again – we are warning you in time!

As before, most of the people in charge rely on the planned Waste Management Center in Lećevica, ignoring the fact that the projected composting capacity in Lećevica is only 9500 tons per year, which is not enough even for the biowaste of the city of Split, let alone Split-Dalmatia County.

We have no use in being right, but we want to once again warn about and prevent the consequences of harmful waste management in the Split-Dalmatia County.

Sustainable waste management systems based on circular economy principles cannot be established without sorting facilities, efficient separate waste collection systems in cities and municipalities, composting plants, reuse centers, without measures to encourage the implementation of reduction of waste creation and measures to stimulate the development of the market of secondary raw materials. These steps have been systematically ignored since 2006. We hope that the latter will not be proven after significant damage to the environment has already been committed, and at the expense of the financial resources of citizens through which incompetent decisions eventually backfire.