Operators carrying out activities likely to produce impacts on human health and in the different environmental topics (air, water, soil and ground water) through emissions of pollutant substances, greenhouse gases, noise and vibrations and the production of waste, must comply with environmental requirements set in the environmental legislation on the topics mentioned. Some of the operators hold specific environmental permits (e.g. IPPC-A, IPPC-B, Elaborates). In the case of IPPC installations, integrated environmental permits are issued, which include provisions and conditions on all environmental topics. The purpose of inspections is to check if the operator complies with the applicable legislation and with the conditions laid down in the permits where this is the case. IPPC-A installations and installations under the scope of Chapter XV of the Law on Environment on prevention and control of major accidents involving hazardous substances have additional requirements regarding inspections (e.g. frequency of routine inspections, planning of inspections, the obligation to make publicly available some information).
This text is not legally binding. For precise prescriptions, please refer to relevant sections of the Law on Environment, Law on Inspection Supervision, material Laws (Water, Waste, Air, Nature Protection…), available in the websites mentioned in section “Relevant documents”
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On this website there is also a section of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Some of these questions are relevant for operators.
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The rights of the operator during inspections are:
- The operator has the right to give comments and notes to the minutes and remarks regarding the legality of the procedure of the inspection or the work of the inspector, as well as for the accuracy of the established facts and the actual situation, in written form with explanation of the reason and justification of the facts.
- The operator has the right not to accept to sign the inspection minutes if he disagrees with the facts that are listed in the minutes or report or if the previously mentioned right to provide remarks was denied to him, although the refusal of signing the minute or report does not obstruct the further performance of the inspection procedure.
The obligations of the operator during the inspections are:
- The operator is obliged to provide to the inspector an unobstructed performance of the inspection and to make available all the data and documents that are needed for the inspection.
- The operator is obliged to provide to the inspector all the required conditions for an unobstructed inspection and for establishing the facts of the actual situation.
- The operator is obliged to provide to the inspector, within the specified period, to be defined by the inspector, access to the premises, the products, the documents or any other items which are object of the inspection.
- The operator is obliged, upon a written request of the inspector, to stop the work during the inspection, if it is impossible for the inspector to perform the inspection in any other way and to establish the facts of the actual situation.
- The operator is obliged, upon a written request of the inspector and within the period of time specified in the request, to provide true and complete data, reports, materials or other documents which are necessary for the performance of the inspection.
During the performance of the inspection the inspector in authorized to:
- Inspect general and special acts, files, documents, evidences and information related to the object of the inspection supervision and to ask from the subject of the supervision or his responsible employees to prepare necessary copies and documents. If such documents are originally in a foreign language, for them to be translated in to Macedonian in a Cyrillic alphabet and certified by a sworn court translator.
- Supervise the official premises and other facilities that are not used for living as well as transportation means and products.
- Inspect identification documents of persons for confirming their identity according to the law.
- Ask from the operator or from his employees a written or oral explanation regarding the issues related to the inspection supervision.
- Ask from operator or from his employees to submit all data they have available from their suppliers.
- Ask for professional opinion from independent institutions/consultants on specific issues when/if it is needed for the inspection supervision and execution.
- Request the operator to perform a further sampling through an accredited laboratory to cross-check monitoring results, or in case of incident/ accident. To take this sample is the responsibility of the inspector. When it is a sample not included as part of the sampling in the monitoring plan, this will be financed by the institution to which the inspector belongs. In case of accidents the second sample has to be paid by the operator. In this case the operator has to choose a certified laboratory from the website of the institute for accreditation of the Republic of Macedonia (www.iarm.gov.mk).
- Control the activities of the operator during sale of products or giving services.
- Provide audio and video recordings that could be used in the inspection supervision.
- Make an inventory list on the existing goods and products in the business premises and facilities.
- Provide other necessary evidences.
The frequency of regular site visits is based on a risk assessment calculated with a specific software (IRAM) used by inspectorates in the EU. This is also in line with the approach of the Inspection Council (IC) and EU legislation.
For assessing risks of industrial activities the following definition is used: The Risk of an activity in inspection planning is defined as the (potential) impact of the activity on the environment or the human health during periods of non-compliance with the regulations by law or permit conditions.
There are different methodologies to determine the risk. In Macedonia the Integrated Risk Assessment Method (IRAM) is used. The result of this risk assessment is a list of inspection objects with inspection frequencies of site visits. In this risk-based approach, most inspection effort will be focused on the objects with the highest risks (highest risk first). The detailed criteria and description of IRAM can be found in sections 2.3 and Annex 10 of the Manual for Planning, Inspection and Enforcement of Environmental Acquis available in the following link:
The risk can be influenced by a set of factors, e.g. the operator performance (e.g. compliance behaviour and the implementation of a working Environmental Management System) is taken in account. This means that the frequency is partly determined by the performance of the operator.
In addition to the ordinary inspections, extraordinary or control (follow-up) inspections may be performed, as a function of complaints received, non-compliances detected during inspections, and incidents or accidents occurring in the installations.
Different inspection modalities may be carried out:
- Inspections to verify compliance with the integrated environmental permit of IPPC installations. Compliance with conditions related to all environmental topics are inspected as well as other conditions laid down in the permit regarding the implementation of the best available techniques (BAT) for IPPC-A installations, including energy efficiency, measures to reduce water and raw materials consumption, waste production, etc.
- Inspections to verify compliance with legislation or with specific permit conditions related to one (or more) environmental topic (e.g. waste).
- Coordinated inspections: during one inspection inspectors from several Inspectorates collaborate with each other, to verify compliance with legislation and conditions laid down in permits arising from different fields, mainly environment, labour, safety (e.g. installations under the scope of Chapter XV of the Law on Environment on prevention and control of major accidents involving hazardous substances) in order to streamline inspection procedures.
In case an inspector has to check the administration during an inspection, it may be started by handing over a list with documents that the inspector wants to see. For ordinary inspections, the inspector will ask such list of documents before the inspection if possible. Some documents may be submitted by the operator following a request of the inspector to do it so within an established deadline.
During the administrative check, the following items can for example be verified:
- Identification of the person responsible for environmental issues and monitoring
- Operating hours of the installation
- Updated planimetry of the plant, indicating:
- Production lines
- Waste water treatment plant
- Waste water discharge points
- Air emissions points
- Waste storage areas
- Maintenance operations register;
- Waste input/output register and documents supporting waste shipments to authorized waste managers, including contracts, certificates, etc.
- Documents supporting data on power, water, fuel, raw materials consumption.
- Self-monitoring. Inspectors will focus in the following items:
- Checking if an operator does self-monitoring or not.
- Comparing if they do it in line with the permit, i.e. checking the frequency, parameters measured, equipment used (if it is a continuous monitoring such as in the case of big power plants, a presentation of results shown in real-time will be checked by the inspector, writing down in the report what has been seen).
- Checking if the reference methods for taking samples and making measurements and analysis were used.
- Checking whether an accredited laboratory did collection of samples and analysis.
- Checking if emission limit values are not breached - in case an operator submits reports to the inspection authority on a regular basis, this will be carried out during a desktop-study or during the site visit.
- Checking other relevant emission parameters - these are parameters that measure emission levels in an indirect way, e.g. amount of paint used, amount of fuel burnt; there might be also some parameters characterising the raw materials used that are crucial (e.g. percentage of sulphur in coal used as fuel) as they influence emission levels.
- Inspectors may decide to be on site when the samples are taken randomly to ensure it is done right.
- Communications to Competent Authority related to accidents and incidents.
- Environmental Management System (EMS) certificate or relevant documentation. If the EMS is prescribed in the permit, inspectors will check compliance with this condition and will focus on significant environmental aspects and on non-conformances found by auditors, their follow-ups and changes introduced in procedures to make sure such non-conformances will not happen again, keeping in mind that anyway the permit is the reference document.
The EMS can give additional information about the overall environmental performance of the facility; in any case however the examination of the EMS cannot replace an environmental inspection.
- Monitoring plan included in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Decision and its last results and reports on compliance with conditions (if applicable).
Physical inspection includes visual inspection, evidence collection and taking samples.
For the inspectors’ personal safety he or she shall comply with the internal safety regulations of the entity inspected. These may include the need to wear a helmet or protective clothes (e.g when inspecting some part of a production line in food or chemical industry) as well as going only on special and dedicated paths in a factory. The operator is obliged to provide the inspector with the appropriate safety equipment if necessary.
4.4.1. Visual inspection and evidence collection
While conducting a visual inspection the following locations are important:
- The direct surrounding of an installation to see if there are traces of pollution by the installation (e.g. abandoned waste, dust from air emissions, the presence of water streams that could be a recipient of waste water, proper separation systems of rainwater from polluted water).
- The production lines to see whether the installation is actually working during the visit and to what extent; this allows a first “visual” assessment of possible impacts on the environment.
- Emission points to air and water to check whether their number and positions are in line with the permit.
- All the required equipment used to protect the environment (e.g. air filters, the factory's wastewater treatment plant, barriers built to prevent leakages from storage tanks, measures for soil protection, etc.).
- Areas and buildings used for waste storage. In the case of hazardous waste all the safety measures protecting against leakages (if the barrels are closed, or if the waste is packed in a proper way preventing leakage to the groundwater) and uncontrolled disposal to the environment will be checked.
Note that at least in the case of an IPPC A installation a visual inspection will not only include "end-of-pipe-techniques” but also other aspects considered to be BAT like efficient energy use. This may include checking of issues such as energy efficiency equipment but also for example insulation layers on steam pipes.
Everything that can be found during inspections may be worth being collected and treated as evidence and must be attached to the report. Generally as “evidence” it is understood:
- Photographs, videos.
- Oral and written statements of the operator and the employees.
- Reports of sampling as well as reports from laboratory analysis.
- Notes/reports of visual inspection.
- Documents such as environmental reports, registries, results of self-monitoring. In case of infringements it is worth making copies and attaching them to the report, as they will serve as a proof in case of later proceedings.
- Protocols of interviews.
4.4.2. Sampling and laboratory analysis
In case that the inspector, after analysing the permit conditions and monitoring reports related to monitoring and sampling, thinks that there is need to perform a further sampling to cross-check the monitoring results, or in case of incident/accident, then he or she may request the operator (through an accredited laboratory) to perform sampling in certain points. He or she will coordinate and overview the implementation of the sampling when the accredited laboratory staff comes to extract the samples.
If the operator, during the collection of samples for analysis, does not request a concurrent collection of a sample for a second analysis, he or she has no right to objectthe results of the analysis.
The operator may object the results of the analysis of the first sample via request to perform an analysis of the second sample (obtained at the same time and using the same means) within three days of the day of delivery of the results of the analysis of the first sample.
If the results of the analysis of the second sample do not conform to the results of the analysis of the first sample, the analysis of the second sample shall be considered legally valid.
The last precondition is that the analysis of the second sample cannot be delegated to the expert institution that performed the analysis of the first sample.
It might also happen that the inspector does not agree with the outcome of the analysis from the second sample. If this is the case, he or she may, within three days of receiving these results, request a so-called “super analysis” of a third sample (obtained at the same time and using the same means as the first). There are no written criteria for the “super analysis”, it will be performed according to the expert judgement of the inspector.
The second and the third analysis should be done bya certified laboratory different to the one having taken/analysed the first sample. If this is not available in the Republic of Macedonia the samples have to be sent to a certified laboratory outside the country. The cost for these analyses have to be covered by the institution to which the inspectors belongs.
Please note that an expert institution that made the previous analyses cannot perform the super analysis, unless there are no other institutions for performing these analyses and/or unless the inspector and operator agree to delegate the analysis to one of the institutions that already performed an analysis.
The following topics may be inspected:
- Emissions to air (including greenhouse gases)
- Emissions to water
- Emissions to soil and groundwater
- Noise & vibrations emissions
- Waste input/output, storage and off-site transfers
- Consumption of energy, fuel, raw material, water and other resources
Note that at least in the case of an IPPC A installation a visual inspection will not include only the topics mentioned above but also the compliance with the integrated environmental permit regarding the implementation of Best Available Techniques (BAT) mentioned in the permit, e.g. energy efficiency: in doing so, the correct implementation and functioning of any BAT will be inspected (e.g. production process units, recycling systems etc.).
The Law on Inspection Supervision defines the situations when the implementation of coordinated inspections involving inspectors from several inspectorates (e.g. environment, labour, protection and rescue) are mandatory. In terms of administering such cases, the corresponding inspectorates are obliged to:
- Announce the inspection visit in advance.
- Consolidate the work plans and programmes and plan the coordinated inspections.
- Exchange experiences and consolidate opinions on the means and methods of work and other issues.
- Hold joint meetings, consultations, councils and other forms of joint cooperation.
- Inform other state bodies competent in the enforcement of the corresponding regulations, when the inspection services make some finding relevant to those regulations during the supervision.
Protocols are being developed to implement such coordinated inspections regarding labour, environment and protection and rescue inspections carried out to check compliance with legislation on prevention and control of major accidents involving hazardous substances.
At the end of the inspection site visit the inspector organizes a closure meeting. During this meeting the inspector gives his or her observations and writes them down in a brief “report”, the minutes, and signs them. The minutes are also submitted to the operator who is asked to sign the minutes in case of agreement. If an operator refuses to sign the minutes, the inspector shall state the reasons for refusal.
However, when due to the scope and complexity of the inspection supervision, or its nature and circumstances minutes cannot be drafted during the inspection supervision, the minutes are drafted in the offices of the inspection service within three days of the supervision, outlining the reasons for the delay. Also a copy of the minutes is submitted to the operator for signing. If an operator does not react to the submitted minutes or fails to return a signed copy to the inspector within eight days of the day of receiving the minutes, it is considered that the operator agrees with the minutes of the inspection. If an operator refuses to sign the minutes, the inspector shall state the reasons for refusal.
If during the inspection the inspector determines that a law or other rule has been breached, he or she has to issue a so-called Decision:
Two parallel procedures may be defined in the Decision:
- Set of instructions to the operator about measures to be taken with corresponding deadlines. The inspector shall prepare the decision, based on facts determined during the inspection, no later than eight days from the completion of the inspection.
- Depending on the kind of breach detected, the inspector may request the start of a misdemeanour procedure, a mediation procedure or a criminal case.
- In minor cases, an exchange of letters may prove sufficient. The inspector might write a letter requesting an explanation of a particular issue and the operator should have to reply. If the reply is satisfactory this should end the matter.
In exceptional circumstances, to remove an immediate life-endangering or health-endangering situation, the inspector may determine inspection measures with an oral decision during the site visit, when he or she assesses that it is necessary. In such cases, the inspector is obliged to prepare a written decision within three days from the day of making the oral decision.
An appeal may be lodged against the inspector’s decision within eight days from the day of receiving the decision, if no shorter term has been determined by law.
The procedure of inspection is ended by drafting a conclusion. The conclusion is used to resolve issues of procedure arising during the inspection. A written conclusion is not issued only for exports of goods, where the control has not started in the Republic of Macedonia (in which case only the so-called template D4 is fulfilled).
The conclusion has to be sent to the operator within eight days. If the operator is not satisfied with the conclusion, he or she has the right to appeal it.
If during the inspection no faults are determined or the faults determined are removed during the inspection, i.e. until the drafting of the conclusion, the inspector is obliged to issue a conclusion to cease the procedure.
On the ‘Legislation’ section of this website (http://www.sei.gov.mk/page_en.asp?ID=2) there is relevant legislation available.
The relevant legislation includes the following:
- Law on Environment
- Law on Inspection Supervision
- Law on Waters
- Law on Nature Protection
- Law on Protection from Environmental Noise
- Law on Ambient Air Quality
- Law on Waste Management
- Law on management of batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators
- Law on management of packaging and packaging waste
- Law on management of electrical and electronic equipment and waste electrical and electronic equipment
- Law on Genetically Modified Organisms
- Law on Control of emissions of volatile organic compounds resulting from use of petrol .- Law on administrative procedure
- Law on misdemeanor
- Criminal Code Law on criminal procedure
- Law establishing a State Commission for decisions in the second instance in the area of the inspection supervision and misdemeanor procedures
Additionally, on the website of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning (http://www.moepp.gov.mk) there are also links to relevant legislation. Information about Rulebooks is available on de website of the Official Gazette (www.slvesnik.com.mk)
Templates of inspection checklists have been prepared as a tool to help inspectors do their work when they visit installations of some sectors. In addition to such checklists have been prepared sector factsheets that give a brief introduction to the sector and of its main environmental impacts. Such documents can be downloaded from the following link: http://sei.gov.mk/projects_page_mk.asp?ID=6 .
- Inspection Council (IC): http://is.gov.mk/
- Economic Chamber of Commerce of Macedonia: Стопанска комора на Македонија
- International Chambers of Commerce of Macedonia: ICC Macedonia | National Committees | Worldwide Membership | ICC - International Chamber of Commerce
- Macedonian Chambers of Commerce: http://sojuzkomori.org.mk/en/
- Economic Chamber of North-West Macedonia: http://oemvp.org/en/
- Organization of Employers of Macedonia: Organization of Employers of Macedonia
- Association of the units of local self-government of the Republic of Macedonia (ZELS): Заедница на единиците на локална самоуправа на Република Македонија