Law no. 246/2020 on land use, conservation and protection, which entered into force on 1 January 2021, introduces various measures and actions to prevent soil degradation, as well as a number of obligations for landowners. All of these provisions, as well as the manner in which soil quality certificates will be issued, are to be clarified in the rules of application, which have not yet been adopted.
The law stipulates that all landowners (individuals, legal entities, associations or public authorities/institutions), regardless of land type (agricultural, forest, urban, unincorporated), have the obligation to ensure the conservation, improvement and protection of the soil.
Moreover, the obtaining of a soil quality certificate is mandatory upon the completion of any works in which the soil was affected, as well as when there is a change of owner of the land or when the land is alienated and where the land has been affected by the following types of activity:
- agricultural, forestry and zootechnical (pre-existing or new);
- industrial and economic (pre-existing or new), with a significant impact on the soil;
- military, with a significant impact on the soil.
Soil quality certificates are to be issued by the National Research and Development Institute for Soil Science, Agrochemistry and Environmental Protection based on a soil quality report by the Office for Soil Studies and Agrochemistry or a soil quality study conducted by a certified natural or legal person.
The aforementioned report will contain a history of the land, pedological observations accompanied by analyses and soil quality indicators, as well as information regarding the existence of any archaeological sites protected by law and the existence of cultural heritage sites.
The procedures for requesting and issuing soil quality certificates, the period of validity and method of review, and the level of the corresponding fee and tariffs shall be approved by a joint order of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Rural Development MADR and the Ministry of Environment within 12 months of the date of entry into force of this law, i.e. by 1 January 2022.
Source: Law no. 246/2020 on land use, conservation and protection, published in the Official Gazette of Romania no. 1,057 of 10 November 2020.