To further address violations in the field of environmental protection, the government of Vietnam issued Decree No. 55/2021/ND-CP (Decree 55) dated May 24, 2021, to amend and supplement provisions of Decree No 155/2016/ND-CP dated November 18, 2016, on penalties for administrative violations against environmental protection regulations. Decree 55 will take effect on July 10, 2021.
Decree 55 aims to extend the range of administrative violations and increase the penalties in some realms such as environmental protection plans and environmental impact assessment (“EIA”). Among other things, Decree 55 elaborates the entities that could be subject to fines and penalties under the decree to include all types of economic entities, including local and foreign-invested enterprises, foreign investors, and their representative offices.
Some key highlights of Decree 55 are as follows:
- Violations in relation to non-compliance with approved environmental protection plans now include the installation of waste treatment facilities not in accordance with those in the plan, resulting in insufficient capacity to process incurred waste or the waste being discharged to the environment, and failure to inform the approving authority of any change of project owners, or owners of manufacturing and service business establishments.
- With regard to the implementation of decisions on approval of EIA reports, the fine for failure to cooperate with the commune-level People’s Committees for the purpose of posting the decision on approval of EIA is doubled to VND 10 million (USD 435).
- During the trial run period of a project, a failure to renovate, improve or additionally construct waste treatment facilities to ensure that the discharged waste satisfies applicable technical requirements is subject to a fine of up to VND 30 million (USD 1,300).
- A new article on violations against provisions on environmental monitoring and surveillance is added to Decree 155. The fines for these violations are up to VND 50 million (USD 2,170).
In general, the revisions and additions provided by Decree 55 give further detail to the violations in the sector under Decree 155, and improve consistency with other environmental regulations.