Thailand's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has issued a Notification ("Notification") regarding the types and specifications of projects that require an Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA") Report ("EIA Report") before being allowed to go ahead with development.
Under the Notification, which will come into effect on 29 December 2009, more types of projects will be subject to the EIA Report requirement, including liquor and alcohol production businesses and marinas.
The EIA Report is required for certain types of projects that are identified as being potentially detrimental to the environment. It facilitates the identification of possible threats to the environment and appropriate mitigation measures.
The preparation of an EIA Report is the first step in a project startup process. Failure to submit it to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, will prevent the project from obtaining the relevant licences and permits necessary for operation, for example, building permit, factory licence. The same rule applies if the EIA Report is deemed unacceptable or incomplete.
Certain notable additions and amendments put forth in the Notification are highlighted below according to project type.
Hotels and Condominiums
Previously, the number of rooms was the only deciding factor in whether or not a hotel or condominium had to conduct an EIA Report. Under the new Notification, both the number of rooms and the usable area will be considered. An EIA Report will be required for new hotels and condominiums which have either 80 rooms or more or a usable area of 4000 square metres or more.
The Notification brings building projects under the scope of the EIA. The size, purpose and location of the building will determine whether an EIA Report is required.
Generally, if the building has a height of 23 metres or more or an area of 10,000 square metres or more (total area of all storeys or any one storey), an EIA Report must be submitted if the building is:
- used for operating a retail or wholesale business; or
- used as an office building; or
- located in an area adjacent to a river, coastal area, lake or beach, or close to or within a national park or historical park where such building may have an adverse impact on the environment.
It is important to note that certain building projects, for example, hospitals, hotels and condominiums, may be subject to other guidelines set out in the Notification or in other specific notifications
An EIA Report will be required for any of the following:
- ports with a capacity for vessels of 500 gross tons or more;
- ports with a quay length of 100 metres or more;
- ports with a total port area of 1,000 square metres or more.
For marinas, which are ports for docking boats for sport and recreational purposes, an EIA Report will be required if they have a capacity of 50 vessels or more or an area of 1,000 square metres or more.
Liquor and alcohol production industry
The Notification extends the requirement for an EIA Report to businesses in the alcohol production industry as follows:
- liquor and alcohol producers with a production capacity of 40,000 litres per month;
- wine or beer producers with a production capacity of 600,000 litres per month.
Other than the above mentioned businesses, there are several other businesses and projects for which an EIA Report will be required under the Notification, for example, air transportation projects and petroleum plants. Furthermore, areas under special environmental supervision such as Phuket and parts of Pattaya are subject to specific notifications which may have requirements that are different from this Notification.
Considering the importance and complexity of the EIA requirements, it would be prudent to seek advice from construction and environmental experts as well as legal professionals to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.
For inquiries related to this Client Alert, please contact:
Araya Akomsoonthorn (email@example.com)
Chartrapee Kanthasorn (firstname.lastname@example.org)