The first comprehensive Saudi Arabian national environmental legislation was enacted on 24th September 2001 in the form of the General Environmental Regulation, Council of Ministers Resolution No. 193. It entered into force on 31st October 2002, and its Implementing Rules were published on 30th September 2003.
Under the Regulation, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (the “PME”), an agency of the Ministry of Defence, is charged with the general supervision of environmental affairs in Saudi Arabia.
The legislation sets out wide-ranging prohibitions of pollution and contamination of air, land and water, with particular reference to all parties involved in services, industry or other economic activities. Owners of “projects”, which are defined as utilities and facilities which may have an effect on the environment, are required to comply with existing and future environmental specifications, standards, measurements and guidelines as promulgated by the PME and set out in the appendices of the Implementing Rules. Moreover, prior to the setting up of a project, an environmental evaluation study must be completed and approved by the PME.
The detail of the legislation is contained in the appendices of the Implementing Rules, as follows:
Appendix 1: Environmental Protection Standards
Appendix 2: Procedures for the Assessment of Environmental Effects of Industrial and Development Projects
Appendix 3: Manual of Environmental Qualification Procedures
Appendix 4: Rules and Procedures for the Control of Hazardous Waste
Appendix 5: National Contingency Plan for Combatting Pollution by Oil and other Harmful Substances of the Marine Environment in Emergency Cases
Appendix 6: Violations and Fines
Apart from the above national environmental legislation, the following specific regulations are also applicable in certain areas of Saudi Arabia:
The Royal Commission for the industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu has issued detailed local environmental regulations applicable to facilities located within the Royal Commission areas and contractors operating therein, of which the Jubail Industrial City Royal Commission Environmental Regulations of September 1999 are the most recent.
Pollution and contamination incidents within ports under the administration of the Saudi Arabian Seaports Authority are governed by the Rules and Regulations for Seaports of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf of 1985, as revised in 2006.
Saudi Aramco, which administers the oil loading terminals at Ras Tanura, Ju’aymah and several smaller terminals independently of the of the Seaports Authority, has its own set of rules entitled “Saudi Aramco, Oil Ports & Terminals, Rules, Regulations and General Information”.
Saudi Arabia has ratified the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil of 1954 (Oilpol 1954) and its Amendments of 1962, 1969 and 1971, and the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1969 (CLC 1969) and its Protocols of 1976 and 1992.
*This Saudi Arabian Law Overview is not intended to be legal advice, and cannot be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. We make no representation that the contents of this Saudi Arabian Law Overview are or will remain accurate or current.
Copyright © Hatem Abbas Ghazzawi & Co.