China Guangdong, China publishes “regulations on administrative guidance by Department of Ecology and Environment”

On April 22, 2021, the Department of Ecology and Environment of Guangdong Province released the “Provisions on inquiry work of Department of Ecology and Environment of Guangdong Province” (hereafter referred to as “Provisions”). It is made to standardize the inquiry work of Department of Ecology and Environment, and promote the solution of serious ecological environmental problems. It includes 6 chapters, which are “General rules”, “Situations and targets of inquiry”, “Preparation of inquiry”, “Implementation of inquiry”, “Rectification after being inquired”, “Supplementary provisions”.

  • Inquiry: the inquiry in this provisions is referred as an administrative measure, for which, the Department of Ecology and Environment meeting with the head of local government or relevant departments, who has failed to fulfill or has not perform in place of the responsibility of ecological environmental protection in accordance with laws and regulations, or the person in charge of relevant enterprises who has failed to fulfill the main responsibility of ecological environmental protection. During the meeting, the implement department will point out the relevant questions, listen to the situation statements, carry out reminder conversations, and propose rectification requirements.

Implement department of inquiry

The Provincial Ecology and Environment Supervision Office of the Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment is responsible for organizing and implementing the inquiry. And if there is a need, it will be implemented jointly with other relevant departments and organizations.

Situations and targets of inquiry

Situations of being inquired: The Provisions specifies 9 situations of being inquired, including exceeding the national or provincial total emission control targets of major pollutants, or failing to fulfill the national or provincial environmental quality improvement targets.

Inquiry targets: Generally, the inquiry targets are main responsible persons of the local government, if the inquiry matters involve with responsibilities of municipal government relevant department, the head of relevant department will be inquired at the same time.

The responsible person of the enterprise, which exists serious ecological environmental problems and has caused serious adverse effects, can also be the inquiry targets.

Preparation of inquiry

During the preparation stage, the related provincial ecological environmental department prepares materials such as inquiry proposals, inquiry plans, inquiry drafts.

Implementation of inquiry

The inquiry usually takes the form of meeting. During the meeting, the implementation department provides rectification suggestions to the inquiry target, and the inquiry target should make an explanation of the situation and clarify the future rectification measures.

Except when it involves state secrets, business secrets and personal privacy, the relevant information of the inquiry should be made public.

Rectification after being inquired

During the inquiry, the inquiry target is asked to make the rectification plan. And the inquiry target has to make and implement the rectification plan in limited time. According to the implementation situation, the Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment will conduct a spot survey.

Supplementary provisions

The “Supplementary provisions” emphasizes that the inquiry cannot replace penalty, if it violates relevant laws or regulations, it will be handed over to relevant departments.

For the original text of the “Regulations”, please refer to the following URL (in simplified Chinese).

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