The municipalities of Denmark and the Environmental Protection Agency must conduct environmental inspections. Inspections must investigate compliance with the legislation and rules established pursuant to the Danish Environmental Protection Act or the Danish Livestock Farming Environmental Approval Act.
In practice this means first and foremost an investigation of compliance with conditions relating to environmental approvals and wastewater permits, waste regulations and other orders concerning e.g. noise.
Inspection is governed by a variety of rules and guidelines. Firstly, inspections by the municipalities and by the decentralised units of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Aarhus, Odense and Roskilde) are covered by Chapter 9 of the Danish Environmental Protection Act (Bekendtgørelse af lov om miljøbeskyttelse, LBK nr. 879 af 26/06/2010) and Chapter 5 of the Danish Livestock Approval Act (Bekendtgørelse af lov om miljøgodkendelse m.v. af husdyrbrug, LBK nr. 1486 af 04/12/2009). Parts of the inspection work such as inspections involving wastewater or waste may be covered by other aspects of legislation.
Legislation is implemented through the instruments of statutory orders. In the field of inspections, for example, there is an Order on reporting for environmental inspection and environmental permits (Bekendtgørelse om beretninger om miljøtilsyn og miljøgodkendelser m.v., BEK nr. 99 af 11/02/11), and the Order on charges for approval and inspection (Bekendtgørelse om brugerbetaling for godkendelse og tilsyn efter lov om miljøbeskyttelse og lov om miljøgodkendelse m.v. af husdyrbrug, BEK nr. 463 af 21/05/2007). Environmental inspections of establishments which pose a risk is covered by the Order on risk (Bekendtgørelse om kontrol med risikoen for større uheld med farlige stoffer, BEK nr. 1666 af 14/12/2006).
Environmental approvals for activities and livestock farms and environmental inspection involving certain activities and livestock farms are covered by charges. The Order on charges provides additional details as to when charges apply to an activity or livestock farm.
Guidelines on environmental inspection
The Environmental Protection Agency has produced guidelines for the environmental authorities, providing instructions on how the general provisions concerning inspection in the Danish Environmental Protection Act can be put into practice. For example, there are guidelines on environmental inspection of industrial enterprises, enforcement guidelines and guidelines regarding differentiated environmental inspection. These guidelines are available in Danish through the publication database on www.mst.dk.
Who is the supervising authority?
The municipalities carry out inspection of the majority of enterprises and all livestock farms. EPA Odense, Roskilde and Århus are the supervising authorities for activities that have the potential to cause the most pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency is the supervising authority for a range of specialist areas, such as genetically modified organisms, vehicle scrapping and offshore activities.
Municipal inspections are covered by the agreement on minimum frequencies for certain categories of industrial enterprises and livestock farms. This applies to inspections involving approximately 25,300 industrial enterprises and approximately 30,500 livestock farms.
Annual inspection reporting
Every year, the municipalities must submit a report on their inspections and approvals work to the Environmental Protection Agency. The report must include the comments regarding the environmental inspections of the municipal authority. Issues such as resource consumption, the number of inspections, the number of enforcement actions and charged fees must also be reported. All figures reported to the Environmental Protection Agency are published in a public database: www.tilsynsdatabasen.dk.