Basic Information

A summary of the most important acts in the Czech Republic which relate to the environment

Act No. 1/1993 Coll. Constitution of the Czech Republic and Act. No. 2/1993 Coll. Charter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms – the preamble of the Constitution of the Czech Republic mentions protection of the inherited natural wealth and in paragraph 7 the obligation of the state to take care of the sustainable usage of natural resources and protecting the natural wealth. The concrete legal framework for environmental protection is stated in the Charter, which states in paragraph 35 that every citizen has the right to a favourable environment, the right to prompt and complete information about the state of the environment and that while exercising their rights it is forbidden to endanger or damage the environment, natural resources, natural species-diversity and cultural monuments more than the law allows.

Act No. 17/1992 Coll. on the Environmental (as results from amendments) – defines basic terms such as environment, protection, polluting and damaging the environment, ecological stability and so on. The law also sets out certain principles and methods of protection such as limits on pollution, preventative measures and introduces duties to prevent pollution at source and to minimalise the harmful consequences etc. The act is of a mostly declaratory character and can only be used in practice together with other more specialized laws.

Act No. 114/1992 Coll. on the Nature and Landscape Protection as results from amendments – the basic source of laws on nature and landscape protection in the Czech Republic. The law has been in effect since 1st July 1992 and is a complex system of legal regulations concerning special protection of areas and species and general protection of nature and landscape, fauna and flora and abiotic nature.
In principle the act ensures:

  1. General nature protection, through the protection and establishment of the territorial systems of ecological stability, important landscape elements, protecting landscape character and general protection of flora, fauna, gene funds and abiotic nature.
  2. Special territorial protection, where the act specifies individual types of specially protected areas, their characteristics and the principles of protection. This section also deals with the implementation and protection of the Natura 2000 system.
  3. Special protection of species, where the principles of protection of monuments tree is set out. The law introduces 3 categories of specially protected species – endangered, highly endangered and critically endangered plant and animal species.
  4. Legal instruments of nature protection, which are administrative, economic and conceptual in character as well as the punishment for individuals and lega entities who breach this law or regulations issued on the basis of this law.
  5. The organisational structure of nature protection in the Czech Republic.

Decree No. 395/1992 Coll., which issued implementing regulations to the Czech National Council’s Act No. 114/1992 Coll. on Nature and Landscape Protection, as results from amendments. The decree allows for the implementation of parts of the law on protection. In the supplements a list of specially protected animal and plant species is set out.

Other laws which concern environmental prediction and nature and landscape protection in a wider sense include the following acts:

  • Act No. 289/1995 Coll. on Forests and Amendments to some Acts (The Forest Act), as results from amendments. The purpose of this act is to determine conditions for the preservation, tending and regeneration of forests as natural riches, forming an irreplaceable part of the environment, to enable the fulfillment of all their functions and to support sustainable forestry. The act categorises forests as protection forest which are forests at exceptionally unfavourable sites. Further as special purpose forests, which are forests in national parks, national nature reserves and in zones of hygienic protection of water resources and can also be applied to forests to which a general interest in the imporvement and protection of the environment or any other valid interest in the fulfillment of non-wood-producing functions of the forest is superior to the wood-producing functions and the third category are production forests. Protection of forests is within the competence of the Ministry of Agriculture and in the case of forests in national parks and national nature reserves the responsibility lies with the Ministry of the Environment. The Forests of the Czech Republic, state company was established to administer the forest property belonging to the state, except for the forests on the territory of national parks.

  • Act. No. 449/2001 Coll. – the Game Management Act, as results from amendments. This act lays down the legal regulations for management and preservation of wild game species in the territory of the Czech Republic, special keeping of game in captivity, import and export of live game, import and release of animals that currently do not live in the territory of the Czech Republic, creation and use of hunting areas, hunting control, use of hunting grounds and improvement of living conditions of game animals on non-hunting grounds, compensation for damage caused by game animals, control of shot game, state administration of game management etc. The criminal law recognises the crime of poaching. Hunting is under the competence of the Ministry of Agriculture.

  • Act. No. 99/2004 Coll. – the Act on fish farming, performance of fishing right, fishing inspection, protection of marine fishing resources and on change of some acts (Act on Fishery). This act defines fish farming as an all-year-round activity which should ensure the breeding, cultivation, protection and catching of fish and other aquatic animals in an organised manner. This can be in the form of fish farming on fishponds or exercising fishing rights of flowing waters. The Ministry of Agriculture is the state administration authority or fisheries, except on the territory of national parks.

  • Act No. 246/1992 Coll. on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as results from amendments. The act concerns the prevention of cruelty to wild and domesticated animals (but only vertebrates), both in the form of cruel treatment of animals and their protection from unjustified killing or abandonment. All cruelty to animals and the promotion of such cruelty is forbidden and the principle that nobody can kill on animal or abandon it without justification. The criminal law sets out the crime of cruelty to animals. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Commission for the Protection of Animals from Cruelty are responsible issues concerning cruelty to animals.

  • Act No. 115/2000 Coll. – on the Provision of Compensation for Damage caused by certain Specially Protected Animal Species, as results from amendments. The act lays out the rules for provision of compensation for the damages caused by certain species of specially protected animals which are specified in this law and the population of which cannot be controlled by hunting. These animals are the European beaver, otter, cormorant, European elk, brown bear, lynx and wolf. The law aims to reduce the antipathy of the public against these vertebrates and help to maintain their populations.

  • Act No. 162/2003 Coll. – on the conditions for the operation of zoological gardens and amendment to some laws (The Zoological Gardens Act), as results from amendments. This act lays down the conditions for operating zoological gardens. The mission of a zoological garden according to the law is to contribute to maintaining the biodiversity of wild animals which are kept in captivity, with special emphasis on the protection of endangered species.

  • Act No. 100/2004 Coll. – Act on protecting wild animal and plant species by regulating trade therein and further measures to protect these species and to change some acts (Act on Trading in Endangered Species), as results from amendments. The act is primarily based on the Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein and lays down the principles of trading in species named in the annexes to the Regulation. The act also implements compulsory registration for holders of the most endangered examples. This law is closely connected to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

  • Act No. 166/1999 Coll. on Veterinary Care as results from amendments. The act lays down the requirements for veterinary care on the breeding and health of animals and on products of animal origin. It sets out the responsibilities of animal breeders, veterinary professionals and other individuals and mostly concerned preventative measures to prevent the possible spread of disease.

  • Act No. 147/1996 Coll. on Plant Health, as results from amendments. The act lays down the competence and obligations of individuals and legal entities in the field of plant health, as well as protection of the state territory against the introduction and spread of harmful organisms and the conditions for handling substances for protecting plants etc.

  • Act No. 254/2001 Coll. on Water and Amendments to Some Acts (The Water Act), as results from amendments – protection of water is aimed at regulating human activities which could lead to worsening of the water quality, endanger its occurence or disturb ecosystems which are bound to water. This concerns both surface and groundwater. These waters are not subject to ownership and do not constitute a part or appendage to ownership and do not constitute a part or appendage of the plot of land on which or under which they occur. Water protection is primarily under the competence of the Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment. The state set up “water authorities” to take care of water in the catchments where they operate. Care for small water flows is also the responsibility of various other bodies.

  • Act No. 334/1992 Coll. on the Protection of the Agricultural Soil Fund, as results from amendments. The aim of soil protection is to prevent or restrict endangerment of and damage to the ecological function of the soils. The subject of the protection is the agricultural soil fund and the law places emphasis on the principle that non-agricultural lands should be used for non-agricultural purposes. The law allows for the usage of agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes but only in extreme cases and if specifies conditions are met.

  • Act No. 44/1988 Coll. on the Protection and Usage of Mineral Riches (The Mining Law), as results from amendments. The protection of mineral riches should ensure the conditions for searching for and economic usage of mineral resources and to protect the environment. The aim is not to restrict the searching for minerals, their mining and other activities in the mining industry but to minimalise their effects on the environment and to maintain a balance between economic usage and ensure sustainable long term development.

  • Act No. 86/2002 Coll. on Clean Air Protection and Amendment of Some Other Acts (the Clean Air Act), as results from amendments. This act is the basic source of legal protection of air quality in the Czech Republic. The legal regulations aim to create such conditions to prevent further air pollution above the set limits, or an acceptable level and that the air quality can gradually be improved.

  • Act No. 185/2001 Coll. on Waste and Amendment of Some Other Acts, as results from amendments. The act deals with issues concerning waste management. It sets out the basic legal regulations for waste management in the Czech Republic. Manipulation of certain special kinds of waste is regulated by other laws – especially radioactive waste, waste water and emissions into the atmosphere etc.

  • Act No. 100/2001 Coll. on Environmental Impact Assessment and Amending Some Related Acts (Act on Environmental Impact Assessment), as results from amendments. The aim of the EIA is to assess the impact of certain proposals on the environment and on public health before decisions are made to realise them. The act distinguishes between assessment of a conception (strategic decision), the subject of which is to assess the impact of realisation of a conceptual document, plan etc. and assessment of a land-use planning documentation (project assessment) the subject of which is to assess the impact of a concrete plan or intention to build or develop an area, as well as setting out the procedures for fact-finding, public hearings, transboundary assessment etc.

  • legal regulations establishing specially protected areas

  • implementing legal regulations to particular acts.