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The risks of missing the deadline for submitting ‘environmental’ reports in the context of the restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19

07.04.2020

Yulia Yurchenko

Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers have analysed the difficulties that users of natural resources face when submitting environmental reports, as well as the risks in connection with the measures taken by the state which are aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Within the coming two weeks, companies must provide the Federal Supervisory Natural Resources Management Service (known as ‘Rosprirodnadzor’) with the following environmental reports:

1) no later than 1 April the following documents must have been submitted:

  • a declaration of the quantity of goods released into circulation in Russia for the previous calendar year, including packaging to be disposed of[1];
  • reports specifying compliance with the disposal standards[2];
  • information as to whether there are on-site equipment capacities allowing the disposal of waste[3];
  • information concerning the locations (sites) for collecting waste from the use of goods organised by legal entities or individual entrepreneurs pursuing activities in the sphere of processing waste from the use of goods[4];
  • no later than 15 April, the calculation of the environmental fee[5].

There has been no decision adopted concerning the putting off of the deadline for submitting environmental reports, and no clarifications of the authorised body are yet available; meanwhile, the users of natural resources are facing problems with the functioning of the remote reporting system.

For your information:

On 25 December 2019, Rosprirodnadzor launched the new User of natural resources account.

The websites of the authority’s regional branches are notifying their users that reports may be submitted only via the new service. However, after its modernisation, the User Account stopped accepting reports signed with an electronic signature.

In response to many questions received from companies, the technical support team of Rosprirodnadzor’s User Account stated as follows[6]:

  • currently, the User Account features the option to generate and submit a report only without an electronic signature. The submission of documents with an electronic signature is temporarily unavailable;
  • after a report has been submitted without an electronic signature, it should be printed out, signed and sealed and filed in hard copy format with the regional branch of Rosprirodnadzor.

This means that, at the present time, environmental reports may be submitted in the following ways:

  1. with a messenger (courier) to the regional branch of Rosprirodnadzor[7];
  2. via mail[8].

Both options imply the need to go outside and visit public places.

Meanwhile, a ‘self-isolation’ (quarantine) regime is being introduced nationwide (in the regions) which imposes harsh restrictions on movement.

In addition, the State Duma has adopted laws imposing administrative and criminal liability[9] for violating the restrictions introduced in connection with the spread of the coronavirus. Violations of the restrictive measures (the quarantine) entail stern measures of liability envisaging, for instance, significant administrative fines[10] as well as a suspension of activities for up to 90 days.

In this context, however, liability for violating the deadlines for submitting environmental reports established by the Code of Administrative Offences remains in effect:

  • for the untimely submission of reports of compliance with the disposal standards, a fine is imposed on legal entities ranging from RUB 70,000 to 150,000 (article 8.5.1.(1) of the Code of Administrative Offences);
  • for a failure to submit other reports and environmental information, a fine will be imposed on legal entities ranging from RUB 20,000 to RUB 80,000 (article 8.5.(1) of the Code of Administrative Offences).

What to think about and what to do

  • If the relevant company is located in a region where restrictions in connection with the quarantine have been imposed officially[11], the reports may be submitted after the quarantine ends without fear of being held liable. This is because the failure to comply the requirements of the law was due to restrictions imposed by executive bodies[12].
  • If no quarantine has been imposed in the region, the risk of administrative liability being imposed on the user of natural resources remains. In such cases, the available grounds for reducing administrative liability or obtaining an exemption from it should not be ignored[13].

Help from your adviser

Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers are closely following the changes and restrictions connected with the spread of the coronavirus and are proactively posting the relevant information on the company’s website.

The Company’s lawyers are ready to provide proactive advice and legal assistance should disputes with the authorised bodies arise.



[1] In compliance with the Regulation on producers and importers declaring goods to be disposed of and the quantity of finished goods released into circulation in Russia for the previous calendar year, including packaging (approved by Resolution No. 1417 of the Russian Government dated 24 December 2015).

[2] In accordance with the Rules for producers and importers to report goods to be disposed of after they lose their consumer properties, and to submit reports specifying compliance with the disposal standards in relation to waste generated from the use of such goods (approved by Resolution No. 1342 of the Russian Government dated 8 December 2015);

[3] In accordance with the form set out in annex 10 to the Rules for the creation, use and modernisation of the unified state information system for tracking waste from the use of goods (approved by Resolution No. 1520 of the Russian Government dated 30 December 2015).

[4] In accordance with the form set out in annex 10 to the Rules mentioned in the previous reference.

[5] In accordance with the form approved by Order No. 488 of Rosprirodnadzor dated 22 August 2016.

[7] The opening hours of the regional branch should be specified by phone in advance as only a part of the regional branches of Rosprirodnadzor are working in their customary mode, whereas the rest are operating under a special regime.

[8] An importer will be able to use only the second option since it is obliged to submit its reports directly to the the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (clauses 6 and 6(1) of the Rules for producers and importers of goods to submit reports specifying compliance with the disposal standards in relation to waste generated from the use of such goods (approved by Resolution No. 1342 of the Russian Government dated 8 December 2015).

[9] On 31 March 2020, the State Duma approved in three readings at a time amendments to the Russian Criminal Code (draft law No. 929651-7), and amendments to the Russian Code of Administrative Offences in the second and third readings (draft law No. 804768-7). On the same day, the amendments were adopted by the Federation Council (http://council.gov.ru/events/news/115367/).

[10] For example, the amount of the fine for individuals will range from RUB 15,000 to RUB 40,000; for legal entities, it will range from RUB 200,000 to RUB 500,000.

[11] The relevant regulatory act of the executive body of the region in question should be published in an official source (on the official website of the regional government, etc.).

[12] Which may be classified as force-majeure circumstances (Resolution No. 3352/12 of the Presidium of the Supreme Commercial ('Arbitration') Court dated 21 June 2012). This means that there was no fault in the requirements of the law not being observed, etc. that one of the elements which is mandatory to identify an offence was not in place (articles 2.1. and 2.2. of the Code of Administrative Offences).

[13] Articles 2.7 and 2.9 of the Code of Administrative Offences.

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