Minimum inspection frequencies
The Danish Minister for the Environment and Local Government Denmark (LGDK - i.e. the interest group and member authority of the Danish municipalities) have signed an agreement on minimum frequencies for inspections involving industrial enterprises and livestock farms.
The agreement expresses minimum frequencies for certain categories of industrial enterprises and livestock farms. The agreement applies to inspections involving approximately 25,300 industrial enterprises and approximately 30,500 livestock farms. The enterprises and livestock farms that cause the most pollution are to be the most investigated.
The agreement sets targets for inspections of:
- Industrial enterprises with environmental permits (IE-accredited and other listed activities), whereby all enterprises must have one full inspection in the course of three years.
- Activities in Annex 1 to the Order on charges, vehicle repair shops and dry-cleaners must undergo at least one full inspection in the course of four years.
- Livestock farms involving more than 75 livestock units (LUs). All farms of this type must undergo at least one full inspection in the course of a three-year period (including IE-accredited farms).
- All fur farms of between 3 and 75 LUs must have at least one full inspection in a four-year period.
- All livestock farms involving more than 3 LUs and less than 75 LUs, as well as agricultural fields receiving livestock manure approved under Section 16, must undergo one full inspection in the course of six years.
The agreement applies to approximately 25,300 industrial enterprises and approximately 30,500 agricultural operations. The municipalities are also required to carry out inspections of activities that are not covered by the agreement.
Annual inspection reporting
Every year, the municipalities must submit a report on their inspections and approvals work to the Environmental Protection Agency. The report must include the comments regarding the environmental inspections of the municipal authority. Issues such as resource consumption, the number of inspections, the number of enforcement actions and charged fees must also be reported.
The Environmental Protection Agency hereafter conducts checks to ensure that all municipalities are complying with the agreement on minimum frequencies.
If a municipality has not complied with the agreement in the year, it is asked to provide a written account. Municipalities that have not met the minimum inspection requirements for two consecutive years are summoned to a meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency in order to discuss the municipality's inspection work.
Municipalities that have not met the minimum inspection requirements for three consecutive years are put under intensified monitoring of the Environmental Protection Agency. A special legally binding agreement is made, that defines the range of the work of the municipality on inspections during every month until the municipality is in compliance with the initial agreement agreement on minimum frequencies.
What is a full inspection?
A full inspection means consideration by the supervising authority of all relevant environmental conditions for an enterprise. A full inspection may consist of one or more physical inspections, administrative inspections (e.g. reviewing self-monitoring within the enterprise) and so on. At least one physical inspection must be carried out as part of a full inspection. Before the inspection can be registered as a "full inspection", the environmental authority must have responded to any infringements and submitted an inspection report to the enterprise.
Guideline no. 6, 2006, "Miljøtilsyn med industrivirksomheder" ("Environmental inspections of industrial enterprises") contains checklists on which the inspector can base a full inspection. The checklists contain many environmental parameters, but it may not be appropriate to go through all of them in an inspection. For example, if the enterprise does not cause noise, the authority does not need to carry out an inspection relating to noise.
It is also up to the authority to decide on the thoroughness of the approach to the enterprise. If the last inspection for this enterprise identified substantial infringements of conditions in the environmental approval or other rules, the inspection of the enterprise etc. must be more detailed.
For enterprises that the environmental authority knows from experience do not cause infringements and enterprises that are working to prevent environmental problems, e.g. via environmental management, a less thorough full inspection may be sufficient. The assessment must always be substantiated by technical standards.