Strengths and weaknesses of European soil legislations: The case study of Portugal(Review)

Environmental Science and Policy


Nowadays contaminated soil has become a major and priority problem, and therefore, during the last four decades many countries have been introducing policies and practices for the management of contaminated soil. In Portugal the water and air pollution have always deserved a greater attention and therefore the regulatory system for contaminated soil remains largely undeveloped, leading to a lack of a framework in terms of policy, including incentives, administrative infrastructures and capacity, as well as the development and implementation of techniques for soil remediation. Since the 1970's Portugal possesses a law for soil regulation, which is completely outdated and does not focus the main issues concerning soil contamination and preservation, and its environmental importance. The Decree Law No. 178/2006 constituted a first attempt to fill the lack on existing legislation concerning soil contamination, creating a general waste management regime (“RGR”), and setting up the legal framework required to give pursuit to decontamination actions and defining waste management taxation (“TGR”). Unfortunately, it seems that Portugal is still far away from having a “real” legislative regulation for soil protection. It was recently published Law No. 31/2014 that is mainly concerned with soil management, planning, and urbanism. The Legal Regime of Territorial Management Tools (“RJIGT”) approved by Decree-Law No. 80/2015, which undertook a profound reform in what concerns the land classification model, eliminating the operative category of urbanizable land, and being mainly concerned with soil management, planning, and urbanism. The Legal Regime for Urbanization and Edification (established by Decree-Law No. 555/99) was amended by Decree-Law No. 214-G/2015 developing the bases for the Legal System of Territorial Management Instruments (“RJUE”). This Decree-Law also introduces a substantial revision of the Code of Administrative Procedure (“CPA”) and introduces changes to various separate pieces of legislation that regulate or are connected with administrative procedures in order to bring them into line with the amendments to the CPA. It is crucial for any country the development of a harmonious, cohesive, integrated and sustainable territorial urban plan, but it should never be forgotten the soil environmental importance for sustainability and human welfare. The main aspects of soil quality are pointed out in this work, as well as possible parameters to measures this quality, and a general overview of the development process of environmental legislation is also presented. This work also makes a brief description of the evolution of the Portuguese environmental legislation in what concerns contaminated soil. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

T. Castelo-Grande

P.A. Augusto

D. Barbosa


Year of publication: 2018


ISSN: 14629011


DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2017.10.010

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