Viktor Smal, head of the State Agency of Forest Resources, noted that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure for the forestry industry is inefficient and expensive, and does not allow for prompt harvesting of wood in areas damaged by wind or fire.
In addition, forestries spend an average of 500,000 hryvnias on an EIA, which can take years, and tens of millions of hryvnias on post-project monitoring, Smal said on Facebook.
He emphasized that while the EIA procedure is underway, a burnt or broken forest can simply "stand" for years, while foresters are developing neighboring healthy areas. That is, the current regulations do not help preserve nature and delay the response to its restoration. After all, it is impossible to plant new trees on the site of a burned forest without an EIA.
Instead of strengthening the restoration of forests affected by wind breaks and fires, forestry enterprises spend time and significant resources on developing and compiling the report.
"It is very difficult to explain to my European colleagues that after a forest fire we have to pay several hundred thousand hryvnias to a private organization to obtain an opinion from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which will confirm that the burner can be developed, and a healthy forest can be planted in its place," he said.
According to him, Ukraine needs to restore hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests, in particular, those lost as a result of hostilities and climate change, which will require significant costs. This leads to:
- increased negative impact on the ecosystem;
- significant economic losses – inefficiently spent state funds;
- social tension, because communities do not understand why foresters do not restore order in damaged parts of the forest.
Smal also emphasized the monopolization and lack of a transparent market for EIA services.
According to MP Olha Vasylevska-Smahliuk, state forestry enterprises have spent 65 million hryvnias on the EIA procedure since 2018.
MP and member of the Parliamentary Environmental Committee Oleksandr Matusevych noted that draft law No. 9516 "On Effective Forest Management Based on Forestry" eliminates EIA for sanitary felling, except in protected areas.
"This norm is not logical, because sanitary felling after a long time after a fire or exposure by pests loses its meaning. The wood is already spoiled," he said, adding that foresters do not want to waste resources and the fires can "stand" for years, instead of prompt planting of young forest.
As you know, draft law No. 9516 was registered in September 2023 and it still has not passed the first reading in the Verkhovna Rada.
Earlier, EcoPolitic wrote, that Lyudmyla Tsyhanok, President of the Association of Environmental Professionals (PAEW), said that in Ukraine, the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure does not fully fulfill its function and does not contribute to improving environmental health, despite stricter standards than in the EU. In her opinion, the procedure has become an instrument of pressure on business.
As EcoPolitic previously reported, the Association of Environmental Professionals (PAEW) has identified 5 critical gaps in the environmental impact assessment procedure in Ukraine that do not meet European standards and complicate the work of investors.