Development and introduction of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) mechanisms is one of the commitments undertaken by Ukraine under the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement. The draft Law on Strategic Environmental Assessment (of 08.10.2015 No. 3259) that outlined the list of SEA subjects, has been registered with the Parliament. In line with Directive 2001/24/EC and EU practice of its implementation, the list includes, inter alia, urban master plans.
However, on 4 May 2016, the Government registered the draft Law on Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Aimed at Improvement of Urban Planning (No. 4585) which challenges SEA of urban master plans in Ukraine. The draft Law provides for restricting public access to data contained in such master plans, since:
- according to it, only general provisions of master plans and not the data contained therein will be accessible;
- it contains no provision to clearly define the concept of “general provisions of master plans”, and no obligation as to the scope of information to be included in the general provisions;
- it changes the procedure of accessing general provisions of urban master plans.
SEA is based on a range of principles, including public participation. This means that the public should have access to public planning acts (which is urban master plan in this case), and not just to an extract therefrom. Therefore, adoption of the draft Law No. 4585 will make SEA of urban master plans impossible.