Nature protection plans
The nature in Latvia is rich and diverse. Specially protected nature territories – nature reserves, nature parks, and strict reserves – have been established in different places across the country. In order to maintain the integrity of specially protected nature areas for the future generations, considerate management of these territories is necessary. Therefore, in accordance with the requirements of legal acts, nature protection plans are developed. These plans include information on nature values and local economic developments as well as prescribe a range of maintenance activities to be realized.
In 2004, the Ministry of the Environment approved the list of protected nature areas of European importance (Natura 2000). Environmental impact assessment of the proposed activity ought to be carried out if the activity is planned to be realized in the area of a Natura 2000 territory or in its vicinity. This requirement follows from the provisions of the EU Habitats Directive which are incorporated in the Law “On Environmental Impact Assessment”, in the Regulations No. 83 of the Cabinet of Ministers of January 5, 2011 “Procedures for the environmental impact assessment of an intended activity”, and partly also in the Law “On the Conservation of Species and Biotopes”.
ELLE consultants have actively partaken in reviewing the procedures governing the development of nature protection plans. The company has acquired significant experience in preparation of these plans and has conducted a number of impact assessment procedures on Natura 2000 territories in accordance with the guidelines developed by the Directorate-General of Environment of the European Commission.
Environmental noise management
Since early 2003, ELLE carries out projects involving prediction of the environmental noise for individual projects within the framework of EIA, as well as for larger areas by drawing up strategic noise maps, as specified in the EU Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC) and the Regulations No. 16 of the Cabinet of Ministers of January 7, 2014 “Procedures for Environmental Noise Assessment and Management”.
To maintain a high standard of performance related to noise mapping, ELLE avails of the extensive experience of its strategic partner Wölfel Monitoring Systems GmbH + Co. KG (Germany) in the field of assessment and modelling of environmental noise.
Hardware and software produced by Wölfel is used for noise mapping. ELLE is an authorised distributor of Wölfel products in the Baltic states.
Air quality assessment and management
Both when carrying out an environmental impact assessment and when preparing an application for a category A or B polluting activity permit, companies must provide information on the changes in air quality caused by the proposed activity. ELLE, in accordance with the requirements of the European Union, already in 2000 started using the modern air pollution dispersion program ADMS, developed by the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC).
Since 2003, ELLE offers its customers professional services for the assessment and management of air pollution dispersion, in line with the requirements of regulatory enactments.
The knowledge of the company's specialists and the available software provide an opportunity to develop long-term action programmes for air pollution reduction, intended for improving air quality in areas where air pollution levels exceed air quality standards or where an increase in the levels of air pollution has been identified.
Through development of the air quality management system in Latvia and Lithuania ELLE has gained substantial experience and knowledge which allow the company to offer training programmes, seminars and workshops in the field of air pollution reduction and air quality management.
Unpleasant odours are the most important problem of air pollution for companies in many industries. This issue is relevant for both new and existing production plants. In many cases, odours are a nuisance to the surrounding inhabitants, and the local authority should draw up and approve an action programme for odour nuisance prevention.
One of the first steps in such cases is to determine the odour concentration by conducting measurements or calculations. Only approved air pollutant distribution computer software, including ADMS, may be used to assess odour concentrations. Using ADMS software, the ELLE specialists have performed the assessment of odour disturbances caused by various companies as well as have evaluated related problems at the municipal level. ELLE also develops emission limit projects for stationary pollution sources which cause or may cause odour nuisances for Category A or B polluting activities.
Climate change mitigation and adaptation is nowadays one of the most pressing environmental issues in the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century considerable climate change effects have been observed in Latvia, including such features as rise in average temperature, rise in maximum temperature, shorter periods of cold waves on the coast of the Baltic Sea and increase in precipitation levels during the cold season. Therefore, the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is an important issue for both companies and state and municipal institutions. In addition to reducing emissions at the national and municipal levels, adaptation to climate change is also particularly important, which is an integral part of planning the future development of territories and sectors.
ELLE specialists have experience both in the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions at the national level and the development of emission reduction measures, as well as in the assessment of climate change risks and vulnerabilities for various sectors and in the identification of appropriate adaptation measures.
Since 2001, the water policy of the Member States of the European Union has been based on the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), which is the legal foundation for the management and protection of water resources in EU. The overall objective of the WFD is to achieve good ecological status for all waters and to ensure the sustainable use of water. To achieve this, specific river basin management plans are being developed for river basins.
ELLE has assisted various institutions in the implementation of the WFD and participated in several international water management development projects. Our experts have in-depth knowledge of regulatory enactments covering water resources and have extensive practical experience in developing water protection measures. ELLE experts assisted in the preparation of Estonian river basin management plans and flood risk management plans for the period from 2015 to 2021, as well as have provided support for the implementation of a river basin management system outside the Baltic States.
Our experience and competencies in the water management industry include:
- preparation of river basin management plans and programmes of related measures;
- flood risk assessment and preparation of flood risk management plans;
- water quality assessment;
- waterbody stress analysis;
- cost-effectiveness assessment of water protection measures;
- development of water monitoring programme;
- capacity building and training in the water management sector;
- assistance in transposing the legal requirements of EU directives;
- preparation of informative materials and public participation;
- compliance assessment.
Civil protection plans
Civil Protection and Disaster Management Law provides for the following civil protection planning documents:
- State civil protection plan;
- Civil protection plan of the co-operation territory;
- Civil protection plan of the object of increased danger;
- Civil protection plan of the object.
ELLE helps in preparing the necessary documentation and in establishing a civil protection system in accordance with the requirements of the Regulations No. 658 of the Cabinet of Ministers of November 7, 2017 or Regulations No. 131 of the Cabinet of Ministers of March 1, 2016. For objects of increased danger, the Regulations No. 563 of the Cabinet of Ministers of September 19, 2017 “Procedures for Identifying and Determining Objects of Increased Danger, as well as for the Planning and Implementation of Civil Protection and Disaster Management” are also taken into consideration.
- In accordance with the requirements of regulatory enactments, ELLE develops:
- Civil protection plans;
- Emergency response plans for various accidents;
- Evacuation plans;
- Notification schemes, etc.
- ELLE advises on the necessary improvements and possibilities to improve existing civil protection systems;
- ELLE coordinates the developed documents with the State Fire and Rescue Service;
- ELLE models the possible distribution of the consequences of accidents both indoors and outdoors;
- ELLE provides staff training regarding civil protection issues;
- ELLE organizes practical and theoretical civil protection trainings.
It is also possible for ELLE to provide civil protection system maintenance services, which are related to periodically updating the documentation and informing employees about relevant changes in the field of civil protection.
Spatial Development Planning
Every municipality needs a spatial plan – one of its most important documents. Considering the existing types of land use of the municipal administrative territory and the factors influencing them, the spatial plan determines the planned (permitted) use of the territory and restrictions on its use in a long-term (12-year) perspective. A sustainable spatial plan, in which both environmental and socio-economic interests have been considered, promotes the development of the municipal territory and attracts investments.
Today, geographic information systems (GIS) are widely used in spatial planning, which significantly improves planning capabilities and quality. Since 2002, ELLE specialists have participated in the development of several spatial plans and other planning documents related to territorial development.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is carried out to assess the potential environmental impact of the implementation of national, regional or local planning documents and to develop proposals for the prevention of adverse effects, as well as to ensure information and involvement of the public in the planning document development process. The requirement to carry out a SEA in Latvia was adopted in March 2004. The main document that is prepared within the SEA is the Environmental Report, which can be included as a separate section in a strategy, plan, programme, conception or other planning document. The Environmental Report may also be prepared as a stand-alone document, in which the environmental impacts of the relevant planning document as well as possible alternatives are assessed.
Since 2004, the company's specialists have been involved in the preparation of SEAs for both state-level policy planning documents and development programmes, spatial plans and detailed plans of various cities, municipalities, parishes and districts. ELLE undertakes the development of Environmental Reports, as well as ensures the organization of their public consultation.