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This Recommendation supersedes HELCOM Recommendation 12/2.

Adopted 12 March 1996, having regard to Article 13, Paragraph b) of the Helsinki Convention



RECALLING Article 3 of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, 1974 (Helsinki Convention), in which the Contracting Parties undertake  to take individually or jointly all appropriate legislative, administrative or other relevant measures in order to prevent and abate pollution and to protect and enhance the marine environment of the Baltic Sea Area,

RECALLING ALSO that according to Article 16 the Contracting Parties, without prejudice to their sovereign rights, agreed directly, or when appropriate through competent regional or other international organizations, to promote studies, undertake, support or contribute to programmes aimed at developing ways and means for the assessment of the nature and extent of pollution, pathways, exposures, risks and remedies in the Baltic Sea Area,

HAVING REGARD to Paragraphs 1 and 17 of the Baltic Sea Declaration 1990 in which the Heads of the Governments stated their firm determination, inter alia, to assure the ecological restoration of the Baltic Sea and preservation of its ecological balance as well as to undertake to integrate environmental considerations into the procedures for planning future development in all economic and social processes,

HAVING REGARD to Article 4 of the EC-Directive 85/337/EEC on the Assessment of the Effects of Certain Public and Private Projects on the Environment,

HAVING REGARD FURTHER to Article 2, para 5 of the ECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, 1991,

BEING CONSCIOUS of the particular sensitivity of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea, and of the economic, social and cultural values the Baltic Sea and its living resources represent for the peoples of the Baltic Sea States, 

BEING CONVINCED that damage to the marine environment can be irreversible or remediable only in a long term perspective and at considerable expense and that, therefore, a principle of precautionary approach should be applied, not to wait for full and undisputed scientific proof of harmful effects before taking appropriate preventive action,

RECOMMENDS that the Governments of the Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Commission:

a)      inform and, where necessary, consult with any Contracting Party likely to be significantly affected by the construction of an installation with a significant potential adverse impact on the Baltic Sea where an Environmental Impact Assessment is required by either national or international law;
where the environmental significance of proposed activities  (e.g. fixed links, submarine power cables, oil-terminals etc.) satisfies one or more criteria contained in the Attachment;

 b)     ensure that where two or more Contracting Parties share a common water body (including sediments), the relevant authorities of those countries cooperate to ensure that the significant adverse environmental effects on that body of water of a proposal (including where appropriate, the effects of related proposals and cumulative effects) are fully investigated before a decision on that proposal is made. The scope of these investigations should be agreed between the parties concerned;

c)      inform the Commission on such installations/activities as described under Paragraph a),

DECIDES  that the criteria specified in the Attachment should be kept updated and be revised when appropriate by the Environment Committee in accordance with the Procedure adopted by the Commission (HELCOM 11/14, Annex 26).


Criteria to assist in determination of environmental significance of proposed activities


In considering proposed activities to which Paragraph a) of this Recommendation applies, the concerned Contracting Parties may use the following criteria:

a)      Size:            -    proposed activities are large for this kind of activity;

b)      Location:     -    proposed activities are located in the Convention area;

                           -   proposed activities are located close to an international frontier;

                           -   proposed activities are located in the catchment area but could give rise to
                               significant transboundary effects far remoted from the site of development;

                           -   proposed activities are located close to areas of special environmental sensitivity or importance;

c)      Effects:       -    proposed activities cause disturbances of natural hydrological (including sediment transport),
                               hydrochemical and biological regime (e.g. behaviour of fish and marine mammals);

                          -    proposed activities result in release of hazardous substances (operational/accidental).