Swedish environmental law – in brief
Swedish environmental law is in many parts built on EU-law, but Sweden has had an environmental legislation for many years prior to the Swedish membership to the European union. One example is the legislation regarding water, hydropower and the use of groundwater for which Sweden has had a legal framework dating back more than 100 years and for which there has been special courts of law. These courts have now been transformed into environment courts of law. In contrary to many other European countries, almost all permits regarding the use of water or environmental hazardous activities must be tried in these courts or by the County Board, i.e. Länsstyrelsen. The legal framework for all environment legislation is the Environmental Code (“Miljöbalken” in Swedish).
It is important to obtain all environment permits before one starts an activity for which permit is required. Failing to do so is a felony and may result in an order to cease the activity and ultimately to tear out the plant for which permit is required.
Obtaining an environment permit can at times be a both time consuming and complex process. Given the type of activity for which permit is required, it can also be an expensive process. That is why it is important to get effective and relevant legal guidance from environmental legal experts. Nordic Law has this expertise.