State of compliance
Serbia failed to transpose Directive 2014/52/EU. Future amendments should also address the failure to issue construction permits (development consent) only after EIA consent (or an EIA decision) is granted, as well as the lack of EIA screening of HPP projects with less than 2 MW of installed capacity located outside protected areas. For proper implementation and enforcement, legislative amendments should be supplemented with capacity building.
Strategic environmental assessments must be carried out during the preparation of the plans and programmes in order to adequately integrate environmental considerations. The SEA procedure for the NECP should be initiated as early as possible. Identifying the relevant authorities and public concerns including those of relevant non-governmental organisations, as stipulated in the SEA Directive, is a precondition for successful and effective consultations. In relation to the overdue obligation of 1,00% sulphur content of heavy fuel oil, the new Rulebook on technical and other requirements for liquid fuels adopted in December 2020 finally removed the exemption for the sulphur content of heavy fuel oil. Thereby, the serious and persistent breach established by Ministerial Council Decision 2018/14/MC-EnC was addressed, and the current legislation is in compliance with the Directive. Serbia has to ensure that quality control of the fuels falling under the scope of the Rulebook is carried out according to the standards listed therein.
Serbia complied with its reporting obligations under the Large Combustion Plants Directive for 2020 and provided emission scenarios taking into account ongoing investments. In 2020, the emission of all three pollutants slightly increased, while a slight decrease in dust emissions was recorded for plants under the NERP. Since the non-compliance with the NERP ceilings for sulphur dioxide reappeared and the projections do not show a clear trend towards compliance in the coming years, the Secretariat launched infringement procedures in March 2021. Four large combustion plants are operating under the opt-out regime in Serbia. Based on their current load factor, two out of those are expected to reach the limit in the course of 2022, while the other two are likely to have sufficient operating hours until the end of 2023, the final date of operation for opted-out plants.
The Government adopted the Programme for Nature Protection of Serbia with an action plan for 2021 - 2023 as well conclusions on measures and activities to prevent the illegal killing, capture and trafficking of wild bird species. In this reporting period, Serbia designated its eleventh and largest Wetland of International Importance, the Ramsar site Djerdap, known for its importance for migrating and wintering birds. Proper protection and management of the nature park Stara Planina remains a challenge. Adequate administrative capacities and financial support must be created (on national and local level) to properly assess the impact of planned HPP projects early in the decision-making process.