Serbia, Government is expected to allow top polluters to operate without environmental permits for three more years

, News Serbia Energy

Serbian Government is expected to allow top polluters, including a number of obsolete coal-fire thermal power plant, to operate without environmental permits for three more years.

Of the 227 facilities listed by the Ministry for Environmental Protection, only 46 have obtained permits since the Law entered into force in 2004, which means that no fewer than 181 facilities are operating without environmental permits. This includes all coal-fired thermal power plants operated by state-owned power utility EPS.

The draft amendments to the Law on Integrated Prevention and Pollution Control would postpone the deadline for issuing integrated environmental permits for existing plants until 31 December 2024.

Serbian non-governmental organization the Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI) already sent a letter to the Public Prosecutor requesting intervention. This is already the second time that the deadline for existing plants to obtain environmental permits is being extended – the latest deadline expired on 31 December 2020. RERI has so far submitted five requests for extraordinary inspections, as well as three requests for initiation of commercial offence procedures against the polluters responsible, but no fines have been imposed yet.

Serbia’s TPPs are among the most deadly in Europe, emitting more sulfur dioxide than all the 221 coal-fired power plants in the EU put together .