Hungary: changes to environment, emissions trading and waste management laws


New laws have come into force harmonising Hungarian law with EU directives on environmental information, emissions trading and waste management.

Access to environmental information

Under the new laws, public authorities must:

  • monitor the environment and its effects on human health
  • give public access to environmental information on request. Requests can be refused if they relate to emissions or involve the disclosure of data which is personal, about tax or business or about the location of protected rare species
  • publish – preferably in electronic format - environmental information (defined in separate legislation) and lists of environmental information held by public authorities. Public authorities can give applicants 5 days to be more specific about any request which is too general. If the information is held by another public authority, the information must be requested from that authority (and the applicant notified accordingly) or the applicant told from where he can get the information. Information about loading and burdening the environment must be given on request by the ‘user’ of the environment and the supervising authority can be asked to assist where requests are not complied with
  • disclose any legally binding decision or administrative environmental contract made under the Administration Act which significantly impacts the environment. In case of infringing this obligation, it is possible to request the assistance of the supervising authority

Environmental information for motorway construction

Before beginning an initial analysis procedure, environmental impact assessment or documentation plan for the construction of a motorway, the motorway builder should seek advance disclosure of environmental information from all affected authorities and operators of public utilities or public roads. The initial analysis procedure includes a public hearing held by the environmental authority. The National Inspectorate for Environment, Nature Conservation and Water Management has [power to intervene] in this procedure and the environmental impact assessment procedure. Appeals against decisions of the environmental authority must be submitted to its head.

Emissions Trading

Under the new laws, the environmental authority can order a facility’s emissions to be measured by a certified expert at the facility operator’s expense where it has not presented a notarised emissions report in time or as required by law.

Waste Management

Under the new laws, anyone who, in the normal course of business, manufactures a product in Hungary or imports into Hungary a product manufactured outside Hungary is treated as a manufacturer for the purposes of the Waste Management Act.

Finally, the government intends to implement EU regulations introducing public health and environmental protections relating to the use of detergents and surfactants for detergents.

Law: Act CXXVII of 2005, the Environmental Protection Act, the Waste Management Act, the Emissions Trading Act; the Motorway Act; the Administration Act CXL of 2004 ; EU Directive 2003/4 on public access to environmental information; EU Regulation 648/2004 on detergents.ik