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Ombudsman challenges noise decree at top court

15.02.2019 11:09
Category: work and news

The Human Rights Ombudsman has asked the Constitution Court to annul a noise decree which the previous government adopted last June, arguing, contrary to the government, that it allows higher noise levels.

The petition, asking the court to examine the decree to establish whether it is in breach of the constitution, was filed today, Deputy Ombudsman Kornelija Marzel told the press.

"We propose the court establish the noise decree is unconstitutional in its entirety, and annul it," she said at Friday's news conference of the Ombudsman's Office.

Having received a number of initiatives against the new regulation from individuals and NGOs, the Ombudsman studied it and decided on the constitutional petition, explained Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer.

She also noted it was adopted when the outgoing Miro Cerar government should have attended only to urgent day-to-day matters, which the noise decree was not.

"The decree brings a radical change and encroaches on human rights and fundamental freedoms in an inadmissible manner," stressed Marzel.

The Ombudsman believes it violates the right to a healthy environment, the principles of the rule of law and of equality before law, and principles of international law and other environmental protection laws.

Marzel also said the public had been practically excluded from its adoption, with only some minor objections having been taken into account.

The Ombudsman believes the Environment Ministry's claim that noise levels had not been changed did not hold true.

It is also not true that the decree transposes part of an EU directive, as the Ombudsman is convinced it in fact breaches it.

Marzel stressed that noise levels had been increased, for instance for some construction sites, ports, and some roads and railways.

"The decree allows for unlimited pollution with noise affecting people," she stressed.

The ministry started working on the decree in 2016, with its draft being sent into public consultation period twice, in 2016 and 2017.

The adoption process was accompanied by strong opposition from NGOs and by warnings by the anti-corruption watchdog and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Last October, the new environment minister, Jure Leben, said the field of noise levels was not comprehensively regulated and announced the decree would be changed.

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