The sector of nature protection was added to the CEI portfolio of responsibilities in 1992 as a result of the then new legislation concerning the protection of nature and rural landscape.
At present the competencies of the CEI nature protection department derive from four legal acts: the Nature and Landscape Protection Act No 114/1992 Coll., which is inclusive of European rules – Habitat Directive No 92/43/EC and Bird Directive No 79/409/EC and the Act No 100/2004 Coll., on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulated trade with them and on further measures for protection of these species related on the Directive on International Trade in Endangered Species No 338/97/EC, the Zoological Gardens Act No 162/2003 Coll., and the GMO Act No 78/2004 Coll. This above-mentioned list shows that the range of activities performed by the CEI is very diverse.
The purpose of the Nature Protection Act is to contribute:
- to the sustainability and renewal of natural balance of ecosystems,
- to the protection of diversity of all forms of life, natural landmarks and sites,
- to the economical management of natural resources.
The regulations and guidelines designed to implement this act are special provisions linked to legal acts concerning forestry and water protection, land-use planning, construction code, mineral resources management, agricultural land use, hunting and fishing, etc. All this means that it is practically impossible to issue an administrative permit for large construction projects in a natural landscape, big inroads into forests and waters, for mining projects etc. without the permission of the Nature Protection Authority, i.e. CEI.
CEI performs the following activities in the area of nature protection:
- supervision over compliance with legal norms and administrative decisions taken in the area of nature protection, the supervision of compliance concerns also other state authorities,
- identifies cases of threat or damage to nature, their causes and perpetrators,
- imposes restrictions or stop entirely any harmful activities until their effects on nature have been removed,
- violations of duties concerning nature protection can be sanctioned by fines.
Generally speaking, CEI focuses especially on the protection out-of-forest vegetation against damage and felling, and also on protection of landscape features and overall landscape types. In the protection of areas CEI looks mainly at compliance with basic terms of conditions that have been laid down for the protection of specially protected areas. The species protection pursuant to the Act No 114/1992 Coll. on specially protected species of plants and animals and their habitats.
Species protection by CEI pursuant to the Act No 100/2004 Coll. (CITES) takes the form of especially checking the conditions of export and import of plants and animals that are or can be threatened by international trade. In order to ensure effective enforcement of this legislation an emergency service CITES (international convention CITES) was set up to provide customs authorities with expert advice. In this area of activities CEI also actively cooperates with its counterparts abroad. CEI may seize illegally obtained specimen falling under CITES, including non-live specimen and products made of protected species. Fines can be imposed for violations of this legislation.
Pursuant to the Act No 78/2004 Coll. about handling genetically modified organisms (GMO) CEI controls compliance related to the manipulation with GMOs, including their imports and exports. This type of supervision reflects the rapidly changing development of biotechnologies in the world and the growing approximation of Czech law with the acquis communautaire of the European Union. CEI can fine legal or individual persons for violating the provisions on the manipulation with GMOs, or it can also order the cessation of such manipulation. Fines in this area are generally much higher in comparison with other sectors of the environment.
Competence in inspection activities is given by the Zoological Gardens Act No 162/2003 Coll.. In the case of ZOO operation without relevant license, which are issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Czech Environmental Inspectorate closes ZOO for the public. CEI imposes fines for violation and administrative wrongs pursuant to this Act.
Similarly to Water Protection and Waste Departments of CEI, the Nature Protection Department is involved in dealing with the consequences of natural disasters and industrial accidents.
Legislation of Nature Protection