Which deviations from EIARs could trigger environmental authorities’ consent?

Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) is required for investment projects which may have material adverse effect on the environment. An EIAR must contain, among others, basic information of the relevant project; technology applied; construction items and activities which are likely to adversely affect the environment; assessment of the project’s impacts to the environment; and measures to mitigate the impacts and protect the environment. An EIAR may run over hundreds of pages.

The EIAR once approved (Approved EIAR) could serve as commitments on environmental protection that the project owner must comply with during the project term. However, due to the time gap between the Approved EIAR and the construction of a project, there may be many deviations to the description of the project or the technology applied in the project. Certain deviations from the Approved EIAR may trigger requirement for further approval or consent from the EIAR Approving Authority.  Those deviations under Vietnamese environmental protection law could be summarized below:


Deviations from EIAR

Possible procedures


Project is not commenced within 24 months from the date its EIAR is approved;

The project owner must re-conduct the EIAR formulation process and apply for new approval of the EIAR Approving Authority;


The location of the project is changed;

Same as deviation (1)


Increase of scale, capacity and change of technology which increases adverse impacts on the environment as opposed to the proposals in the Approved EIAR;  

Same as deviation (1)


Change of scale, capacity and technology which increases adverse impacts on the environment but not to the extent subject to re-formulation of EIAR;

The project owner must explain to the EIAR Approving Authority about the proposed change. Such change can only be executed after the project owner obtains written consent on the same from the EIAR Approving Authority.


Change of scale, capacity and technology but not increases adverse impact on the environment.

Based on requirement for deviation (4) above, technically, this change should not be subject to any prior consent from the EIAR Approving Authority. That said, this is not explicitly provided under the applicable law and may be an arguable issue as further discussed below.


This post is contributed by Nguyen Bich Ngoc, a VILAF associate.