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Environmental Law

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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Czechia (Czech Republic)

    The constitution of The Czech Republic contains provisions for the protection of the environment. Article 7 reads: “The state shall concern itself with the prudent use of its natural resources and the protection of its natural wealth”.

    Article 35 states that:

  • Everyone has the right to a favorable environment
  • Everyone has the right to timely and complete information about the state of the environment and natural resources
  • No one may, in exercising her rights, endanger or cause damage to the environment, natural resources, the wealth of natural species, or cultural monuments beyond the extent designated by law

  • The Ministry of the Environment (Ministerstvo životního prostředí) is the central regulatory authority for environmental matters.
    The Czech Environmental Inspectorate (CEI) is an expert executive body within the state administration that is charged primarily with supervising the enforcement of environmental legislation.

Featured Legislation

1988: The ​​Mining Act (Act 44/1988 Coll.) was instituted to establish principles for the protection and economical utilization of mineral resources, especially in prospecting and exploration work, opening, preparation and extraction of mineral deposits.

1991: The Ministry of the Environment was created, featuring wide-ranging competencies with respect to preparing and implementing policies aimed at correcting many of the mistakes of the past and providing a healthier environment for citizens who used to live in some of the worst European “black spots”.

1992: The Act on Protection of Nature and the Landscape was signed, setting the framework for the conservation of nature.

1995: The Forest act was promulgated, governing the maintenance of biodiversity and the sustainable management of forests.

1995: The State Environmental Policy was formulated to reduce pollutant emissions and improve air and water quality.

1998: Law No.123 (Access to Information on the Environment) was approved, guaranteeing the right to timely and complete information on the state of the environment and natural resources.

2001: The Waste Act was introduced, emphasizing waste prevention and defining the hierarchy of waste handling to promote the fundamental principles of environmental and health protection in waste handling.

2008: The Act on Prevention and Remedying of Environmental Damage (Act 167/2008 Coll.) was passed, outlining the rights and duties of persons in prevention and remedying of environmental damage if it has occurred or is imminent in direct relation to protected species of wild fauna and flora, natural habitats defined by this Act, water or land.

2011: Act No. 350/2011 Coll. (On Chemical Substances and Chemical Mixtures) was promulgated, determining the rights and obligations under the manufacture, classification, testing of dangerous properties, packaging, labelling, and placing on the market, use, export and import of chemicals or substances contained in mixtures or articles.

2012: The Air Protection Act was brought into force, preventing air pollution and reducing the level thereof so as to reduce risks to human health.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • In 2019: law enforcement officials in Czech Republic uncovered the role of organized criminal groups in connection with the illicit disposal of waste. Concerns have been raised over the status of the country which is becoming a “target country” for the importation of waste. International exporters are exploiting the “green-list” of waste – a list that is only to be used for recyclable waste (i.e. waste for recycling and as an energy source). An investigation concluded that illicit non-recyclable plastics warehouses were set up in the Czech Republic in 2019 and that the waste was directly dumped or taken to incineration plants in the Czech Republic, a clear violation of the country’s waste management legislation. The Customs Administration of the Czech Republic, Czech Environmental Inspectorate, and Ministry of the Environment and the Police of the Czech Republic detected 28 cases of unauthorized transport of waste in the first half of 2020. The Strategy to Prevent and Combat Waste-Related Crime for the Years 2021-2023 is being tabled to reduce the number of crimes associated with the illicit disposal of waste. The strategy will focus on metal theft and feature CCTV systems at locations where scrap metal is collected and bought. Authorities will also be empowered to remove a license to operate scrap metal collection points; train collection point personnel, impose restrictions on mobile collection points to buy scrap metal and extend sanction powers of regional authorities. These measures aim to reduce scrap metal related crime and the new Act will be implemented in 2021.

References and Further Reading


Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic: