The Ministerial Decision (MD) 48/2017 is the new regulation for organizing environmental permitting in Oman and that also cancelled the MD 187/2001.
As per MD 48/2017, an Environmental Permit is the approval issued by the concerned authority in the Ministry (in this case, MECA) including the permissions given to the owner to practice a certain activity after ensuring its environmental safety.
Several Environmental Permits may be applicable depending on the activities or processes involved in a proposed project or development. These activities are linked to the company’s registered business activities and are ISIC-based. Companies are to coordinate with MECA’s Environmental Assessment and Permit Centre (for guidance on environmental assessment requirements) and the online application to be made with MOCI’s Invest Easy Portal.
Most MECA-issued permits comes with conditions. Typical conditions, aside from employing best practices, conservation ethics, periodic monitoring reports submission, include securing a License.
But what is the difference?
License is issued based on an Environmental Permit and it addresses the technical sufficiency of the applicant’s facility. It is an upfront legal authorization used to allow practicing a restricted business activity.
As of this writing, MECA has listed 14 areas for licensing for companies or businesses (e.g., air, noise, soil and water, climate, etc.). Different types of licenses are applicable for Individuals and Public Institutions. Licenses are obtained from MECA’s Environmental Inspection and Control Department as well as Climate Affairs.