What are the laws that protect the environment

At present, the regulations that are dedicated to environmental regulation and protection are widely dispersed, by this we mean that currently there is no single code that includes environmental laws, which adds complexity to the study and application of the same.

Laws that protect water

Regarding water, we find different regulations depending on the environment where these waters are found. Thus, for example, we find laws that protect water such as the following:

  • Protection of the marine environment , such as Law 41/2010 , of December 29, on the protection of the marine environment, by means of which discharges from ships and aircraft are controlled, protecting endangered marine species, as well as the declaration of marine protected areas.
  • Other waters , such as groundwater , find protection in Royal Legislative Decree 1/2001 of July 20, which approves the revised text of the Water Law, which controls the discharges that can be made, both in rivers and in places that may affect groundwater, among other things.

Among the laws that protect the environment , those in the area of biodiversity also stand out . The most relevant law that we find at the state level is Law 42/2007 on natural heritage and Biodiversity, which regulates the basic aspects of conservation, sustainable use, improvement and restoration of natural heritage. Thus, it regulates the most essential aspects of ecological processes, the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora .

When it is said that a law regulates the basic (or minimum) aspects, it means that this norm will regulate the minimum protection that must be met, with other regulations, whether autonomous or local, in charge of establishing a more protective framework. broad on these matters.

Laws on climate change

On this matter, in recent times constant changes are taking place and new regulations are being generated to face the climate crisis in which we are immersed, without going any further, we see it necessary to highlight that it has recently been published in the Official Gazette of the Cortes Generales, the draft Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition , aimed at achieving the objectives in this area acquired by Spain at an international level [1] .

Likewise, on January 21, 2020, the Council of Ministers agreed on the “Declaration of the Government in the face of the Climate and Environmental Emergency”, said declaration is in line with the international commitment to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions , assumed through the Agreement of Paris , as well as with the commitments made in the United Nations 2030 Agenda , on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Laws on renewable energy

In terms of renewable energies, we do not find an exception to the existing regulatory dispersion regarding environmental legislation . Renewable energies are all those that use natural resources as energy sources, such as the sun, wind and water. Thus, and due to their classification as a source of obtaining green energy, we find rules to promote the use of renewables . At the European level we can find Directive 2018/2001 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, which has a deadline of application by the member states until June 30, 2021.

Environmental liability laws

In the area of laws that protect the environment , we cannot forget the rules that regulate and guarantee compliance with responsibility for environmental damage .

At the European level we find the ” Directive 2004/35 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on environmental liability in relation to and repair of environmental damage” [2] , the purpose of which is to establish an environmental liability framework based on one of the basic principles of environmental protection “whoever pollutes pays” , focusing on the prevention and repair of damage caused to the environment. Said Directive establishes certain minimums that the member states must comply with through the application of their internal regulations. In the case of Spain, the internal application derived from this European standard is found in Law 26/2007 on environmental responsibility, which regulates damage to both water, soil, estuaries and the shoreline of the sea, as well as damage to species of fauna and flora that are permanently or temporarily in Spain.

As has been well said at the beginning of this article, this is only a small sample of the environmental legislation that currently exists, since currently environmental regulations are widely dispersed among the different existing regulations, and it is important to highlight the difficulty that This means that the search and application of them is not easy. For this reason, it is necessary that environmental legislation be unified as soon as possible, to make it easier to understand and apply, both for individuals and companies.

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