Creado por

Logo Philippi Prietocarrizosa

How to Acquire Environmental Licenses

Which environmental permits and licenses must be considered by companies that wish to set up operations in Bogota?

Luis Fernando Macías, corporate  ambiental partner  at Philippi Prietocarrioza Ferrero Du & Uría lawyers firm, presents the “Enviroment Regime” chapter from 2019 Bogota’s Foreing Investment Guide.

To develop projects in Bogota or the Cundinamarca department, interested parties must apply for different environmental permits and/or authorizations, which can vary according to the location and purpose of the project. 

Environmental licenses are an authorization granted by the competent environmental authority for the execution of a project, work or activity that, according to current regulations, could cause serious damage to natural renewable resources or the environment, or lead to significant or noticeable changes to landscapes. Therefore, this procedure is carried out with the National Authority of Environmental Licenses (ANLA) or the Regional Autonomous Corporation (CAR).

There are various types of permit and license types, depending on the intended use or exploitation.

  • Air: Emissions permits exist, and are granted by the competent environmental authority to allow the release of emissions into the air.
  • Noise: The permitted decibel levels are regulated according to the area of impact.  
  • Outdoor visual advertising: This is regulated in the city of Bogota, and incurs a tax payment that depends on the dimensions of the piece of advertising. 
  • Water: Permits exist for the use of water resources, issued by the competent authority. Additionally, the PUEAA program for efficient water use and saving applies to users that request a water license. Groundwater exploration permits and dumping permits also exist.

Waste generated during the global pandemic COVID19

According to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, until the sanitary emergency is over the management of waste that has a priority interest to be managed productively and efficiently (pesticides, expired drugs, batteries or accumulators, tires used, lighting residues, waste electrical and electronic equipment WEEE) should be done in situ until the waste can be taken to the authorized waste manager. 

The waste generated during the pandemic should be treated as established in Resolution 666 of 2020 and according to the Resolution 2184 of 2019. 

The waste generated by people infected with the virus, in houses, institutions and businesses should be disposed in two black bags as non-usable waste. 

In the event that there are no people infected or with symptoms, the waste must be separated according to the applicable standard and in line with the color code defined by the Ministry; white color for reusable waste, black for unusable waste and if possible, green for organic waste.

However, given the special situations that have arisen, the recommendation is that if possible, they be treated and disposed of as hazardous waste. This in order to avoid any declaration of responsibility for improper waste management and avoid contagion of the virus, as well as a possible joint responsibility with the utility company.

Regarding the management of hazardous waste with biological or infectious risk generated as a consequence of COVID19, if the installed capacity of the managers of said waste is close to its maximum capacity, the environmental authorities may authorize, after a temporary modification of the corresponding environmental license, other managers of hazardous waste to also manage the waste with biological or infectious risk.

It will be an exceptional and transitory modification, which must include a prior evaluation by the environmental authority regarding the conditions and requirements that must guarantee the adequate storage, treatment, and/or final disposal of this waste.

Environmental restrictions during the global pandemic COVID19

Because of COVID19, environmental authorities have suspended certain environmental obligations due to the confinement measures established in the country. This also includes some of the procedures that were taking place before the environmental authorities which may present delays. In addition, it is possible that, environmental permits and/or authorizations requested before and during the sanitary emergency may take longer than usual.

Finally, and regarding the fulfillment of environmental obligations during the health emergency, the existence of force majeure may be claimed and therefore the exoneration of responsibility in the fulfillment of environmental obligations. This should be reviewed in each case, in which the unpredictability and irresistibility of compliance should be argued.

Keep in mind

  • Regional policies regarding the management of any ordinary and hazardous waste that results from an activity must be taken into account. 
  • The special provisions in relation to forest reserves, bans and protected areas must also be considered.

Learn More Here

Download the complete chapter

Download the complete version of the investment guide, in which you will be able to learn more about the generalities, principles, types of foreign investment, international instruments for the foreign investment protection, among others.

Logo Philippi Prietocarrizosa

Philippi Prietocarrizosa

The first major Ibero-American legal firm, and the result of the union between the Chilean firm Philippi, Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner, the Colombian firm Prietocarrizosa and the Peruvian firms Ferrero Abogados and Delmar Ugarte. The renowned Spanish and Portuguese firm Uría Menéndez has participated in this new firm since its foundation in 2015. The firm responds in an efficient way to the different necessities of professional services that are in growth because of the economic relationship among the countries that are part of the Pacific Alliance.

Related topics
How to Invest and Exchange Foreign Currency in Colombia
How to Employ Workers in Colombia
Which Foreign Investment Incentives exist?

Need more information?

Contact Invest in Bogota to receive all the information and advice you need to invest in Bogota and Colombia.