Law 21/2013 of 9 December on Environmental Assessment

Last updated: 5 July 2021

This law requires projects that may have significant effects on the environment to undergo environmental impact assessments. The law promotes sustainable development and environmental protection by: integrating environmental aspects in the planning and approval of programs and projects; analysing and selecting alternatives that are environmentally viable; establishing measures to prevent, mitigate, and if appropriate, compensate for adverse effects to the environment; and by establishing surveillance, monitoring, and compliance measures. This law applies to several industry sectors, including the extractive industry and the energy industry (e.g. crude oil refineries or oil and gas pipelines with a diameter of more than 800 mm and length over 40 km).  


The environmental impact assessment is based on a series of the principles for protection and improvement of the environment, including preventive action, mitigation of environmental impacts, public participation, integration of environmental aspects in decision-making, and action according to the best available scientific knowledge. Project proponents must submit a request to the environment authority for environmental assessments. The environment body will then carry out, within three months, a technical analysis of the request, considering significant environmental impacts of the project, including any contributions to climate change.


It is the responsibility of the competent authority to monitor compliance with the environmental impact statement or report. These documents may require monitoring reports that review planned mitigation measures, activity data or environmental conditions.

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