Main page
 
Press Release
04/05/2020   On behalf of the Seimas, National Audit Office of Lithuania has carried out an audit of efficiency and effectiveness of environmental protection and pollution prevention

On behalf of the Seimas, the National Audit Office of Lithuania (NAOL) has carried out the audit Efficiency and Effectiveness of Environmental Protection and Pollution Prevention Activities. During this audit, the auditors evaluated the legal regulation of environmental protection and pollution prevention, the process of environmental impact assessment and authorisation, the state control system of environmental protection, remediation processes of contaminated sites, and the management of financial, human resources and data systems in the environmental sector.

More than 2.8 million people are registered in Lithuania, while more than 250 thousand companies are operating in the areas of energy and chemistry as well as other areas. In everyday domestic life as well as while conducting economic activities, thousands of tonnes of waste are generated and harmful pollutants are released into the air. The environmental system should help in reducing the impact of this activity as much as possible.

The public policy in the areas of state control of environmental protection and pollution prevention is formed by the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency coordinates the supervision of environmental impact assessment and authorisation, whereas the Environmental Protection Department exercises functions of environmental control.

In Lithuania, pollution allowances are issued to 2,800 entities and each year more than 9 thousand entities are inspected.

“The audit performed by the National Audit Office shows that the process of environmental impact assessment and authorisation, as well as the state control of environmental protection, does not ensure the avoidance of negative environmental impact; moreover, part of the contaminated sites have not been remediated for decades”, states Vaida Barizienė, Chief Advisor of the Economy Audit Department of the NAOL.

During the period of 2014–2020, the state control of environmental protection was assigned to several separate institutions. The results of the National Audit Office's audit reveal that a systematic efficiency assessment of state control of environmental protection has not been created, the inspections are planned without having an accurate list of monitored entities, while information on them is not structured. Moreover, officers performing state control of environmental protection indicate that they have a shortage of measuring devices, thermal imaging cameras, and other equipment necessary for inspections.

The audit identified that no guarantee exists that in the case of emergency (accident) the damage to nature and people would be compensated. The requirement to ensure the civil liability of the company is intended only for managers of hazardous waste; thus, in the case of fire or another emergency, the environmental damage or damage to third parties might not be compensated.

In addition, the results of the audit reveal that the Ministry of Environment together with its subsidiary bodies manage 17 databases. During 1995–2018, EUR 11.1 million were used for their development; nevertheless, some parts of the information required for the performance of institution’s functions and decision-making have to be looked up in paper files and archives.

In accordance with the funding for environmental protection, Lithuania takes 26th place in the European Union.

 

Responsible for the information Communication Division
Last updated on 16 September 2020

National Audit Office of Lithuania

Pamėnkalnio St 27, LT-01113 Vilnius, Phone: + 370 5 266 6793, + 370 5 266 6752, Email: nao@vkontrole.lt.