Abu Dhabi imposes AED328,000 administrative fines on environmental legislation violators

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has imposed 32 administrative fines, totalling AED328,000, since the implementation of the decision issued last April by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Board of Directors of EAD, regarding the list of administrative fines for violating environmental legislation.

The largest fine issued to date was AED50,000, and was imposed for discharging materials into the marine environment that caused unpleasant odours, unnatural colours, or caused a noticeable change in the temperature and turbulence of the emirate's waters.

Other violations included submitting incorrect data to EAD, changing data contained in licences, or polluting the soil or water or air in protected areas. The Agency followed up with the violating establishments to ensure that corrective measures were taken to remove or mitigate the causes.

The decision to impose administrative fines was made to enhance the regulatory and supervisory role of EAD and support mechanisms for addressing activities and actions that negatively affect the environment. The Agency is also responsible for limiting harmful practices which are not included in the applicable environmental legislation to boost compliance with environmental legislation in Abu Dhabi.

With the issuance of the decision, the system of administrative violations and fines stipulated in Law No. (10) of 2020 was activated, amending some provisions of Law No. (16) of 2005 regarding the reorganisation of EAD. The Agency was granted the power to impose administrative fines for acts violating the provisions of this Law, its organisational and executive regulations, and the systems, policies, decisions, and circulars implementing it.

The decision classified administrative violations and fines to three main categories: fishing violations and discharges into the marine environment; violations concerning hunting, biodiversity and reserves; and violations regarding development and industrial activities.

The table of administrative violations consists of 99 violations, 46 of which are non-reconcilable and include a reconciliation discount of 25 percent, in the event of payment within 60 days of the date of issuance.
The fines range between AED1,000 and a maximum limit of AED1 million, depending on the nature of the violation, the extent of the damage it causes to the environment, and the recurrence rate.

Of the total number of violations, 87.5 percent were incurred in the development and industrial activities category, with the remaining 12.5 percent being issued regarding violations related to hunting, biodiversity and reserves. No fines were issued for violations regarding the marine fisheries sector or discharge into the marine environment.

Faisal Al Hammadi, Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Quality Sector at EAD, said, "Since its establishment in 1996, as the competent authority in Abu Dhabi responsible for the implementation of environmental laws and regulatory controls in the emirate, we have taken several steps to provide a well-established regulatory framework in line with the directives and the vision set by the Abu Dhabi government to preserve the environment.

“We achieve this by applying best practices and the highest international regulatory standards to ensure the achievement of the emirate's long-term economic vision in a way that preserves our natural heritage for a better future for all.”

Khaled Al Hajri, Section head E Compliance and Enforcement, Environmental Quality Sector, stated, "We are intensifying our efforts to work closely with facilities and institutions operating in Abu Dhabi to provide full knowledge of the various environmental legislations, which contribute to limiting or minimising environmentally harmful acts, thus avoiding exposure to any penalties or fines. The compliance rate of establishments and projects licensed by EAD has reached 97 percent."

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