Easing of mobile phone mast construction
Amendments to Construction Law and Environmental Protection Law under the Anti-Crisis Shield
The Act on Special Support Instruments in Connection with the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Virus, adopted by the Sejm on April 9, 2020, introduces substantial amendments to both Construction Law and Environmental Protection Law. If introduced in the current form, these amendments will significantly facilitate antenna mast construction/reconstruction.
Easing of Construction Law
Definition of a portable free-standing antenna mast
Another definition is to be added in Article 3 of Construction Law (Article 3(5a)), i.e. the definition of a portable free-standing antenna mast meaning any metal or composite structure, stand-alone or together with a trailer, grid, technical container or telecommunications cabinets, placed on the ground, together with guy wires, ballast and other structural elements, a radiocommunications installation and power infrastructure, designed for multiple assembly and disassembly without loss of technical ability.
Exemption from the obligation to obtain a construction permit, including projects requiring environmental or Natura 2000 impact assessments
Furthermore, Article 29(5) of Construction Law is to be added, excluding the application of Article 29(3) and (4) to projects referred to in Article 29(1) (12), involving portable free-standing antenna mast construction/reconstruction where the investor is a telecommunications undertaking or entity referred to in Article 4 of the Telecommunications Law of July 16, 2004 (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 2460, and of 2020, item 374). This means that, for free-standing antenna mast construction/reconstruction carried out by telecommunications undertakings, and also by e.g. organizational units and units subordinate to the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of the Interior and Administration (in this case, for own use and e.g. government administration purposes), the requirement to obtain a construction permit will also not apply when these projects require an environmental or Natura 2000 impact assessment, or when construction works are carried out for a structure entered in the register of monuments. In addition, the obligation to enclose a conservator’s permit will be lifted when applying for a construction permit relating to construction works for a structure entered in the register of monuments, or reporting construction works in an area entered in the register of monuments.
Work may be commenced within 3 working days of the notification, the authority may object within 14 days and only for certain reasons
Article 30 of the Construction Law, regulating the procedure for making notifications to architecture and construction administration bodies is to be supplemented with new sections 5f-5i, under which work consisting in the construction or reconstruction of portable free-standing antenna masts, where the investor is a telecommunications undertaking or an entity referred to in Article 4 of the Telecommunications Law (i.a. the entities referred to above), may be commenced 3 working days following the delivery of the notification to the architecture and construction administration body. hThe authority may lodge an objection within 14 days from the date of delivery of the notification, however only if the execution of the construction work or the facility covered by the notification may pose a threat to the safety of people or property. In the objection, the authority must oblige the investor to suspend construction works. The proposed amendments to the Construction Law are to be applicable during a state of epidemic threat, state of epidemic or state of natural disaster (new Article 30(5i) of the Construction Law).
Amendments to the Environmental Protection Law
Operation of substantially altered electromagnetic field emitting devices and portable free-standing antenna masts may commence immediately upon their notification to the environmental protection authority
Significant changes will also be made to the Environmental Protection Law. They will include, i.a., Article 152(2)(9), where the expression “or 2” is to be deleted (concerning the obligation to append the notification of an installation whose emissions do not require a permit – which installation may have a negative impact on the environment – with a report on the measurements of levels of electromagnetic fields in the environment in the event of a change in the operating conditions of the installation or device, which may cause a change in the levels of electromagnetic fields). Moreover, the amendments to the Environmental Protection Law are also to enable the commencement of operation of substantially altered installations or devices referred to in Article 122a(1) of the Environmental Protection Law (devices emitting electromagnetic fields, being substations or overhead power lines with a rated voltage of not less than 110 kV, or radiocommunication, radionavigation or radiolocation installations emitting electromagnetic fields with an equivalent isotropic radiated power of not less than 15 W, emitting electromagnetic fields at frequencies between 30 kHz and 300 GHz), and portable free-standing antenna masts, immediately upon notification.
Stopping the operation of an installation following an objection by the environmental protection authority
Only in the event of an objection by the environmental protection authority (in the form of a decision) would the operator of the installation or the user of the device be required to stop their operation, in case the operation of an installation would cause the emission standards or environmental protection standards to be exceeded, or would not meet the environmental protection requirements set out in the law or administrative decisions, including relevant technological solutions.
The law will now be discussed by the Senate at its session of 15 April 2020.
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