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PM praises environment minister, except lack of wastes law

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Prague, Oct 11 (CTK) – Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka praised on Wednesday an excellent drawing of EU subsidies, a simplification of the EIA process and the unification of the rules for the national parks as the successes the Environment Ministry achieved under Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) in the ending election term.

Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) voiced reservations about delays in the ministry’s preparation of some new bills, including the bill on wastes.

He praised the ministry’s programme of subsidies to environment-friendly heating and the steps it has taken in fighting drought and its consequences.

On the other hand, an amendment to the law on wastes has been drafted but it can no longer make it through parliament before the October 20-21 general election, Sobotka said.

Apart from it, the next government will also have to deal with a reinforcement of the protection of water sources, he said.

Four years ago, the Sobotka cabinet’s priorities in environment protection included the drawing of EU money, a simplification of the EIA procedure of assessing construction projects’ environmental impact, and an upgrading of wastes recycling based on a new bill on wastes, which, however, the ministry failed to complete in time.

Furthermore, Brabec failed to submit a planned anti-fossil bill securing a gradual lowering of the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Sobotka said on Wednesday employers and unions stood up against the bill. He said the government set a condition that the bill must not harm the country’s economic competitiveness.

According to Brabec, such a law, if passed, would have had a mere declaratory character, and its aims have been reliably embedded in the government’s Climate Protection Policy document.

Speaking on plans yet to be completed, Sobotka mentioned an amendment to the water law. He said a stronger protection of water sources is necessary in view of the current climate change, which his cabinet did not ignore, unlike its predecessor.

Sobotka praised Brabec’s ministry for not only completing a strategic document and a national plan of the adaptation to droughts, but also taking concrete steps in this respect. He mentioned the projects focusing on rain water and the retention of water in landscape.

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