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On the obligation to manage oil waste

 Case No. 47/2011

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ITEM 166.4 (WORDINGS OF 31 OCTOBER 2007 AND 1 DECEMBER 2010) OF THE STATE STRATEGIC WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN, AS APPROVED BY THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 519) “ON THE APPROVAL OF THE STATE STRATEGIC WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN” OF 12 APRIL 2002, WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 9 May 2014, No. KT18-N7/2014

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Elvyra Baltutytė, Vytautas Greičius, Danutė Jočienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Vytas Milius, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Dainius Žalimas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1 and 531 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, at the Court’s hearing, on 8 May 2014, considered, under written procedure, constitutional justice case No. 47/2011 subsequent to the petition (No. 1B-57/2011) of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan, as approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 519) “On the Approval of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan” of 12 April 2002, insofar as oil producers and importers were (are) set a mandatory task of regenerating or recycling (or otherwise using), as from 2008, at least 30 percent of oil waste, calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year, is not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

  1. Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan (hereinafter also referred to as the Waste Management Plan), as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 519) “On the Approval of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan” of 12 April 2002 (hereinafter referred to as government resolution No. 519 of 12 April 2002), established an imperative task of managing oil waste and an important condition for the economic activity of oil producers and importers.

Oil producers and importers are not always the holders of used oil waste, therefore, they must be active in order to perform the task—to collect (ensure the collection of) at least 30 percent of used oil, calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market in a given year—which is established in the impugned provision of the Waste Management Plan. Even after taking active measures, oil producers and importers may not be able to collect the aforementioned amount of used oil for reasons beyond their control. Under the established legal regulation, the fact that a waste holder does not transfer oil waste to the manager of that waste does not affect the scope of the duty of oil producers and importers to regenerate oil waste or recycle it into fuel. In addition, the collection of such waste from waste holders and/or its recycling may be completely economically unjustifiable and inadequate (e.g. the applicant should offer an extremely large sum of money to waste holders so that they would deliver oil waste to them or to the persons authorised by them); this, in essence, may force to forgo oil production or import activities.

The duty imposed on oil producers and importers depends on the amount of oil placed on the market, however, part of such oil may be not used in a given (reference) year (it is stored as stock, or as that meant for export, etc.), i.e. oil waste that producers and importers are obliged to regenerate or recycle into fuel may be not produced.

  1. The petitioner invokes the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine regarding economic activity, which are formulated in the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 18 June 1996, 14 March 2002, 9 April 2002, 26 January 2004, 13 May 2005, 29 April 2009, and 26 February 2010, as well as the provisions regarding the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which are formulated in the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 17 March 2003 and 24 December 2008, and maintains that Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan establishes such an obligation on oil producers and importers (a condition for economic activity) that may be assessed as an unjustifiable and disproportionate (to the objectives pursued) restriction of economic activity, since it may be objectively impossible to fulfil such an obligation (the collection of oil waste does not depend solely on oil producers and importers) or the economic costs of performing it may be disproportionate for oil producers and importers.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from Vilma Karosienė, Director of the Waste Department of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Agnė Murauskaitė, Head of the Law Application Division of the Law and Control Department of the same ministry, and Reda Skirkevičiūtė, a chief specialist of the same division, acting as the representatives of the Government, the party concerned, in which it is maintained that Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December of 2010) (to the extent indicated by the petitioner) of the Waste Management Plan is not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representatives of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

  1. Under Article 26 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Waste Management, the State Strategic Waste Management Plan is drawn up by the Ministry of Environment and approved by the Government; one of the main objectives of the said plan is to establish the tasks of managing waste. Under Article 341 of the Law on Waste Management, producers and importers must perform the tasks of managing product and/or packaging waste that are established by the Government or an institution authorised by it. Thus, the law entrenches a duty for producers and importers to perform the tasks of managing product waste that the Government or an institution authorised by it is entrusted with establishing. Such a task is established in Item 166.4 (impugned by the petitioner) of the Waste Management Plan.

In view of the fact that the legal regulation impugned by the petitioner is established in a substatutory legal act, i.e. in a government resolution that is adopted pursuant to the Law on Waste Management, there is no ground for stating that the legal regulation established in Item 166.4 of the Waste Management Plan competes with that established in the aforementioned law and that the impugned legal regulation is in conflict with the provisions of the law. Thus, such legal regulation is in compliance with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law which implies the hierarchy of legal acts.

  1. The representatives of the party concerned invoke the provisions (formulated by the Constitutional Court) of the official constitutional doctrine regarding the requirement, which is enshrined in Paragraph 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution, for the state to regulate economic activity so that it serves the general welfare of the nation, and regarding freedom of individual economic activity, which is enshrined in Paragraph 1 of the same article; under the said provisions, individual economic activity is not absolute—the legislature, while taking account of the importance and nature of the regulated economic relations, may establish certain conditions for economic activity. According to the representatives, one of such conditions is the duty, which is imposed on producers and importers in Article 341 of the Law on Waste Management, to perform the tasks of managing product and/or packaging waste that are established by the Government or an institution authorised by it.

The oil waste management system is developed in Lithuania following the principle of producer responsibility. In accordance with this principle, legal acts establish producers’ and importers’ duties and tasks by raising which the state seeks to ensure that any possible negative impacts of that waste on the environment and human health would be avoided during the entire life cycle—from the very production of oil to the management of the waste produced after using the waste placed on the market. The state, being responsible for the proper functioning of the waste management system under development and defending the interests of consumers, must ensure that waste management activities serve the general welfare of the nation—that all waste, especially the hazardous one (which also includes oil waste), is, first of all, collected and managed only in such ways that would not cause any harm to the environment and human health, and, secondly, that the collected oil waste is recycled, regenerated and reused, thereby preserving natural resources for future generations. To achieve this, duties and rights must be imposed on every participant in the system, inter alia, the oil producer and importer, by properly implementing which they undoubtedly contribute to economic activity in the public interest.

In order to perform the task of managing oil waste, which is established in Item 166.4 of the Waste Management Plan, producers and importers must organise oil waste management. In Paragraph 1 of Article 341 of the Law on Waste Management, producers and importers are provided with several alternatives: they may manage waste themselves, they may organise waste management by signing a waste management contract with an oil waste manager, establish a licensed organisation of producers and importers, or become members of such an organisation and entrust it with organising waste management and carrying out other duties imposed on producers and importers.

It should be mentioned that the responsibility for managing the total amount of oil waste is apportioned among oil producers, importers, and oil waste holders. Under Item 166.4 of the Waste Management Plan, oil producers and importers are obliged to ensure the management (regeneration, recycling or other uses) of 30 percent of oil waste, calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market, whilst the management of the remainder of oil waste must be ensured by oil waste holders. In order to achieve the objectives of the Waste Management Plan, which are set in Article 26 of the Law on Waste Management, such apportionment of the duty to manage waste among the aforementioned subjects is proportionate and rational. The amount of oil placed on the Lithuanian market, on the basis of which the aforementioned task of managing oil waste is calculated, does not include the amount of oil exported to other countries and the amount of oil that is unrealised. Thus, the fact that part of oil is exported and unrealised, contrary to what has been maintained by the petitioner, does not affect the outcome of the performance of the task of managing oil.

  1. Under Article 3 of the Law on Waste Management, enterprises, the economic commercial activity of which produces waste and which use, dispose or otherwise manage waste, must take all possible and economically justified measures to reduce the amount of this waste and its hazardous impact on human health and the environment. The Constitutional Court has emphasised that the welfare of the nation must not be perceived only in a material (or financial) sense, in addition, it is unlikely that it would be fair and right to seek material welfare in such a way that is harmful to human health, or, in the opinion of the representatives of the person concerned, in such a way that endangers a clean environment. The fact that a particular economic entity makes bigger or smaller profits cannot be contrasted with the state’s aim to ensure the right of the entire society to a safe and clean environment, therefore, the petitioner’s argument that the collection of oil waste from oil holders and/or its recycling may be economically unjustifiable and inadequate, since it may be costly, is unfounded. The representatives of the person concerned provided statistical data which, according to them, show that the majority of oil producers and importers had performed the task of managing oil waste that is established by the Government, and this denies the petitioner’s statement that it may be impossible to perform the established task or that the economic costs of carrying it out are disproportionate for economic entities.
  2. Articles 53 and 54 of the Constitution enshrine every person’s duty to protect the environment from harmful influences, and they define the principal environmental policies of the State of Lithuania: the protection of the environment from harmful influences, care of the protection of the natural environment, sustainable use of natural resources, their restoration and increase. In its rulings, the Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that one of the state’s objectives—to ensure people’s right to a healthy and clean environment—is formulated in Paragraph 1 of Article 54 of the Constitution. It should be noted that the recycling of used oil protects human health and the environment, as well as it protects against soil, water, beach, flora, and fauna pollution. Oil waste is hazardous since it is flammable, harmful, toxic and it oxidises. Used oil is heavily polluted with various heavy metals. These metals can seriously impair human health. After used oil gets into water, it covers the water surface with a film that is airtight, therefore, oxygen levels decrease in water and animals die. The incineration and disposal of oil waste also pose a serious hazard to human health and the environment when the established requirements are not complied with.

When used oil is recycled, valuable energy is saved since only one third of energy which would be used to turn crude oil into oil is needed for the re-refining of used oil.

The state’s objective (by establishing the tasks of managing oil waste), by means of legal regulation, to ensure the rational use of waste material and energy resources and to develop a common rational waste management system that meets the needs of society and ensures good environmental quality means that the constitutional obligation consolidated in Article 54 of the Constitution is met. The imposition of the task of managing oil waste on producers and importers is one of the measures of regulating economic activity taken by the state so as to ensure that waste management activities serve the general welfare of the nation—that all waste, especially the hazardous one (which also includes oil waste), is collected and managed only in such ways that would not be harmful to the environment and human health, whilst the collected oil waste is recycled, regenerated and reused, thereby preserving natural resources for future generations and ensuring the public interest enshrined in Article 54 of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

  1. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requests that the Constitutional Court investigate the compliance of Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan, as approved by government resolution No. 519 of 12 April 2002, insofar as oil producers and importers were (are) set a mandatory task of regenerating or recycling (or otherwise using), as from 2008, at least 30 percent of oil waste, calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year, with Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. On 12 April 2002, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 519) “On the Approval of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan”, by means of Item 1 whereof it approved the State Strategic Waste Management Plan.

Government resolution No. 519 of 12 April 2002 has subsequently been amended or supplemented on more than one occasion.

2.1. On 31 October 2007, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 1224) “On Amending the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 519) ‘On the Approval of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan’ of 12 April 2002”, by means of which it amended government resolution No. 519 of 12 April 2002 (with subsequent amendments and a supplement) and set it forth in its new wording by establishing the following:

 “Conforming to Paragraph 3 of Article 26 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Waste Management (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1998, No. 61-1726; 2002, No. 72-3016) <...>, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania hereby resolves:

To approve the State Strategic Waste Management Plan (attached).”

Under Item 1 of the Waste Management Plan (wording of 31 October 2007), the purpose of this plan is, in view of the present situation of waste management and conforming to the requirements of the legal acts of the European Union that regulate waste management, as well as conforming to the State Long-Term Development Strategy, as approved by the resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (No. IX-1187) of 12 November 2002 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 113-5029), the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, as approved by government resolution No. 1160 of 11 September 2003 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 89-4029), and the Communication of the Commission of the European Communities “Taking sustainable Use of Resources Forward: A Thematic Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste”, to give an analysis of the present situation of waste management and an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT), to set waste management priorities and principles, strategic objectives, objectives and targets, and measures for implementing this plan (Annex 1), to describe the waste management system, to establish the tasks of managing waste, and to provide for the mechanism for the implementation of, and accountability for, this plan; the Waste Management Plan is carried out during 2007–2013. Under Item 4 of the Waste Management Plan (wording of 31 October 2007), the Waste Management Plan provides for actions and measures, as well as establishes the tasks which must be implemented by state institutions, municipalities, producers and importers, as well as waste managers.

Item 166 of the Waste Management Plan (wording of 31 October 2007) prescribed:

“166. Oil waste is managed following the principle of producer responsibility according to which oil producers and importers must:

166.1. develop an oil waste management system that ensures proper oil waste management so that human health and the environment would not be exposed to any hazards;

166.2. ensure that oil waste is managed by meeting the following priorities:

166.2.1. the regeneration of oil waste;

166.2.2. the recycling of oil waste into fuel;

166.2.3. the incineration of oil waste that is not suitable for regeneration or recycling into fuel, also of waste produced in the process of regeneration or recycling, in accordance with the requirements for the incineration of hazardous waste;

166.3. inform the public of oil waste management systems and the harm of their mismanagement to the environment and human health;

166.4. carry out the following tasks of managing oil waste: to regenerate or recycle into fuel, as from 2008, at least 30 percent, whilst, as from 2012, at least 50 percent of oil waste (calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year).”

2.2. On 1 December 2010, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 1746) “On Amending the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 519) ‘On the Approval of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan’ of 12 April 2002”, by means of Item 130 whereof it amended Item 166 of the Waste Management Plan (wording of 31 October 2007) and set it forth as follows:

“Oil Waste Management

  1. Oil waste is managed in such a way that is safe to the environment and public health, by following the principle of producer responsibility according to which oil producers and importers must:

166.1. organise a separate collection of oil waste, from enterprises carrying out vehicle maintenance and repair, and its transfer to a waste manager which has the right to manage oil waste;

166.2. ensure that, where it is technically possible, oil waste is collected separately and treated in line with the waste hierarchy;

166.3. inform the society of oil waste management systems and the harm of their mismanagement to the environment and public health;

166.4. carry out the following tasks of managing oil waste: to regenerate, recycle or otherwise use (for example, for producing energy and fuel which is in compliance with quality requirements for liquid fuel), as from 2008, at least 30 percent, whilst, as from 2012, at least 50 percent of oil waste (calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year).

166.5. finance all the costs of managing oil waste (including collection) in view of the established tasks of managing it.”

  1. The comparison of Item 166.4 (wording of 31 of October 2007) and Item 166.4 (wording of 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan makes it clear that the legal regulation established in Item 166.4 (wording of 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan has not seen any substantial changes; the said item only established one more alternative for oil producers and importers when they mandatorily carry out the tasks of managing oil waste, i.e. not only to regenerate or recycle the established amount of oil waste but also use it otherwise (e.g. for producing energy and fuel which is in compliance with quality requirements for liquid fuel). Under Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan, oil producers and importers are obliged to regenerate, recycle or otherwise use, from 2008 till 2012, not all oil waste but its minimum amount—30 percent—calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year.
  2. The legal regulation which is established in the Waste Management Plan and impugned by the petitioner should be construed in the context of the provisions of the Law on Waste Management.

4.1. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 26 (wording of 1 July 2002) of the Law on Waste Management, the State Strategic Waste Management Plan had to be drawn up for the purposes of implementing the waste management priorities specified in the said law; under Paragraph 1 of Article 26 (wording of 19 April 2011) of the said law, the State Waste Management Plan is drawn up for the purposes of implementing the requirements specified in the said law, under Article 2 thereof, the State Waste Management Plan establishes the tasks of managing waste, strategic waste management objectives and targets designed to implement them, whilst, under Paragraph 3 thereof, the State Waste Management Plan and its implementing measures are drawn up by the Ministry of Environment and approved by the Government.

Thus, government resolution No. 519 of 12 April 2002 (with subsequent amendments and a supplement), by means of which the Waste Management Plan was approved, have implemented and implement the aforementioned provisions of Article 26 (wordings of 1 July 2002 and 19 April 2011) of the Law on Waste Management; pursuant to these provisions, the tasks of managing waste are established in the said plan.

4.2. Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan, insofar as its compliance with the Constitution is impugned by the petitioner, should be construed in conjunction with the other provisions of the Law on Waste Management that establish the rights and duties of oil producers and importers in the sphere of oil waste management.

4.2.1. Article 341 “The Rights and Duties of Producers and Importers” (wording of 28 June 2005) of the Law of Waste Management prescribed:

“1. Producers and importers have a right to:

1) individually manage their product and/or packaging waste;

2) entrust, on contractual terms, enterprises which manage product and/or packaging waste with managing such waste;

3) found organisations and entrust them with introducing waste collection systems which supplement the municipal waste management system organised by a municipality in order to perform the tasks of managing product and/or packaging waste that are established by the Government or an institution authorised by it. The procedure for implementing the provisions of this item shall be established by the Government or an institution authorised by it;

4) found the organisations of producers and importers that are referred to in Article 343 of this law or become members of such organisations.

  1. Producers and importers must:

1) obtain registration under the procedure established in Article 342 of this Law;

2) perform the tasks of managing product and/or packaging waste that are established by the Government or an institution authorised by it;

3) manage the inventory of oil, vehicles, electrical and electronic equipment, taxable products and the packaging of these and other products as well as submit reports to an institution authorised by the Government under the procedure established by the said institution.”

Under Paragraph 3 of Article 343 (wording of 28 June 2005) of the Law on Waste Management, the organisation of producers and importers can only engage in such an activity that is designed to carry out the duties of the founders and members of the organisation, which are provided for in Article 341 of this law, as well as in the activity related thereto, inter alia, to the organisation of the product waste management system.

Thus, under the specified legal regulation established in the Law on Waste Management, producers and importers had the right to manage their product waste individually, to entrust, on contractual terms, enterprises which manage such waste with managing it, in order to organise the product waste management system, they had the right to found organisations referred to in the law and become their members, and had to perform the tasks of managing product waste that are established by the Government or an institution authorised by it, to manage the inventory of oil and submit reports to an institution authorised by the Government under the procedure established by the said institution.

4.2.2. On 22 December 2011, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 2, 12, 30, 34, and 343, and the Eighth1 Section of the Law on Waste Management, Supplementing the Law with the Eighth2, Eighth3, Eighth4, Eighth5, Eighth6, Eighth7, Eighth8,  Eighth9, and Eighth10 Sections, and Recognising Article 16 as No Longer Valid. By means of Article 7 of the said law, which, under Paragraph 1 of Article 17 of the same law, came into force on 1 January 2013, it changed the Eighth1 Section (“The Rights and Duties of Producers, Importers, and Distributors”) (wording of 28 June 2005) and set it forth with a changed title “The Eighth1 Section The Particularities of the Management of Electrical and Electronic Equipment Waste”, and, in Article 341 “The Rights and Duties of the Participants in the System of the Management of Electrical and Electronic Equipment Waste” it regulated social relations other than those of the article in its earlier wording. By means of Article 9 of the aforementioned law, which, under Paragraph 1 of Article 17 of the same law, came into force on 1 January 2013, the Law on Waste Management (wording of 16 June 1998) was supplemented with the Eighth3 Section “The Particularities of Oil Waste Management”. Article 347 “The Rights and Duties of Oil Producers and Importers, as well as Oil Waste Managers” (wording of 22 December 2011) of this section prescribed:

“1. The duties of oil producers and importers:

<...>

2) keep an inventory of oil placed on the internal market of the Republic of Lithuania and submit inventory reports under the procedure established by the Minister of Environment;

<...>

4) if oil waste has no or a negative market value, to compensate enterprises which provide vehicle maintenance and repair services or waste managers for the costs of collecting oil waste and transporting it for the purposes of managing it in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, or to collect, free of charge, oil waste from enterprises which provide vehicle maintenance and repair services, as well as to transport this waste and transfer, to oil waste managers, the amount of oil waste not exceeding the amount of oil that an oil producer and/or importer have/has placed on the internal market of the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. Oil producers and importers have the right to perform the duties established in Items 3 and 4 of Paragraph 1 of this Article:

1) individually—by becoming oil managers which have the right to manage oil waste or by concluding contracts with oil managers which have the right to manage oil waste;

2) collectively—by founding the Organisation specified in Article 3412 of this Law and/or becoming participants in that Organisation and entrusting it with organising the collection of oil waste from enterprises which provide vehicle maintenance and repair services and with organising its transportation, as well as with carrying out all or part of the duties imposed on them by this law, or by entrusting the Organisation, on contractual terms, with organising the collection of oil waste from enterprises which provide vehicle maintenance and repair services and with carrying out all or part of the duties established by this Law, without becoming participants in the Organisation. <...>”

To sum up this legal regulation established in Article 347 (wording of 22 December 2011) of the Law on Waste Management, it should be held that, as compared to the no-longer-valid legal regulation consolidated in Article 341 “The Rights and Duties of Producers and Importers” (wording of 28 June 2005) of this law, it, instead of establishing the general rights and duties of producers and importers, specifically established the rights and duties of oil producers and importers; the duty, which was previously in force, to manage the inventory of oil was specified by establishing that it is mandatory to manage the inventory of oil placed on the internal market of the Republic of Lithuania; new alternative duties of oil producers and importers were established: to compensate enterprises which provide vehicle maintenance and repair services or waste managers for the costs of collecting oil waste and transporting it for the purposes of managing it in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania if oil waste has no or a negative market value, or to collect, free of charge, oil waste from enterprises which provide vehicle maintenance and repair services, as well as to transport this waste and transfer, to oil waste managers, the amount of oil waste not exceeding the amount of oil that an oil producer and/or importer have/has placed on the internal market of the Republic of Lithuania. After comparing the aforementioned legal regulation established in Article 347 (wording of 22 December 2011) and in Article 341 (wording of 28 June 2005) of the Law on Waste Management, it should also be held that, under the said regulation, oil producers and importers have retained the right to manage oil waste individually or collectively, i.e. by founding the organisation which is established in the law, however, the said organisation is no longer founded for organising the product waste management system but for organising the collection and removal of oil waste from enterprises which provide vehicle maintenance and repair services.

4.3. Under Paragraph 1 (wording of 19 April 2011) of Article 32 of the Law on Waste Management, the “polluter pays” principle, which means that the costs of managing waste must be paid by the original waste producer or by the current or previous waste holder and/or the producer or importer of products, the use of which produces waste, is applied in the area of waste management.

Thus, the Law on Waste Management establishes a general “polluter pays” principle, according to which the costs of managing waste must be paid by the producer or importer of products, inter alia, of oil, the use of which produces waste.

4.3.1. In this context, it also needs to be mentioned that, under Item 166 of the Waste Management Plan, oil producers and importers must carry out the task of managing waste which is established in Item 166.4 of this plan in accordance with the principle of producer responsibility. Neither the Law on Waste Management, nor other laws define or otherwise implicitly regulate the principle of producer responsibility, therefore, its content should be construed in view of the provisions of the Waste Management Plan and Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain directives.

Under Chapter V of the Waste Management Plan, the “polluter pays” principle is regulated in conjunction with the principle of producer responsibility which, under Item 82 of this plan, is applied in order to promote the development of long-term closed cycles of reusable and easily recyclable products (Item 82.3), to ensure the maximum collection and recycling of product waste and the maximum use of secondary raw materials (Item 82.5 (wording of 1 December 2010)), as well as to reduce the costs of managing waste (Item 82.6 (wording of 1 December 2010)).

It should be noted that the “polluter pays” principle is consolidated in and the establishment of greater producer responsibility is allowed in the aforementioned Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste; the Law on Waste Management (Paragraph 6 of Article 1 (wording of 19 April 2011) and Item 8 of Annex V “The Legal Acts of the European Union Being Implemented” of the Law on Waste Management)) and the Waste Management Plan (Item 8 (wording of 31 October 2007) of the Waste Management Plan and Item 8 of Annex 3 “The Legal Acts of the European Union Being Implemented” thereof)) are intended to ensure the application and implementation of the said directive.

Under Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the said directive, “in order to strengthen the <...> recycling and other recovery of waste, Member States may take legislative or non-legislative measures to ensure that any natural or legal person who professionally <...> manufactures <...> or imports products (producer of the product) has extended producer responsibility.”

4.3.2. To sum up this legal regulation, it should be held that, under it, the principle of producer responsibility, which aims at ensuring the maximum collection and recycling of product waste as well as the maximum use of secondary raw materials, and the “polluter pays” principle, which means that the costs of managing waste must be paid by the producer or importer of products, the use of which produces waste, are applied to the producers and importers of products, inter alia, of oil.

4.4. Paragraph 1 of Article 121 (wording of 19 April 2011) of the Law on Waste Management establishes that, in view of the technical possibilities and economic justification of oil waste treatment, and pursuant to Articles 14, 15, and 17 of this law, it is necessary to treat oil waste in accordance with the requirements of Articles 3 and 41 of the said law.

Article 14 (wording of 19 April 2011) of the Law on Waste Management is designed for the mixing of hazardous waste, Article 15 (wording of 19 April 2011)—for the packaging and labelling of hazardous waste, and Article 17 (wording of 19 April 2011)—for the procedure for transporting hazardous waste. Thus, oil waste must be treated in accordance with the requirements established for hazardous waste.

Article 3 “The Order of Priority for Waste Prevention and Management” (wording of 19 April 2011) of the Law on Waste Management prescribes:

“1. The following order of priority shall be applied in the area of waste prevention and management:

1) prevention;

2) preparation for reuse after separating the products or their components that are not suitable for reuse;

3) recycling after separating the waste that is not suitable for recycling;

4) other uses, for example, the use for producing energy after separating the waste that is not suitable for recycling or other uses;

5) disposal after separating the waste that is suitable for recycling or other uses.

  1. The order of priority for waste prevention and management shall be applied in view of the general principles of environmental protection—precaution and sustainability, technical possibilities and economic justification, the protection of resources, as well as the overall environmental, public health, economic and social impacts.
  2. Waste managers and waste producers must take all possible and economically justified measures so as to reduce the amount of waste and its negative impact on public health and the environment, to develop and introduce low-waste technology, and to save natural resources. Such enterprises must follow the order of priority for waste prevention and management that is specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article. Producers of products must produce and place on the market products which could be used for a long time or reused, and, after their expiration date and after they turn into waste, they could be recycled or otherwise used, and thus reduce the amount of waste and its hazards to public health and the environment.
  3. Subjects participating in waste management activities shall be responsible for ensuring that their activity related to waste management and all the information about this activity provided by them to society are in line with the order of priority for waste prevention and management.”

Under Article 41 “The Protection of Public Health and the Environment” (wording of 19 April 2011) of the Law on Waste Management, waste must be managed without exceeding the standards of environmental protection established for water, air, or soil pollution and set in legal acts and without bringing about any significant negative impacts on public health, fauna, and flora (Item 1).

4.5. To sum up the legal regulation established in the Law on Waste Management, it should be held that subjects participating in waste management activities, inter alia, oil producers and importers, are responsible for ensuring that their activity related to oil waste management is in line with the order of priority for waste management, where, first of all, preparation for reuse after separating the products or their components that are not suitable for reuse (which corresponds to the regeneration of oil waste that is referred to in the provision of Item 166.4 of the Waste Management Plan) is carried out, then, recycling after separating the waste that is not suitable for recycling is carried out, after that, other uses, for example, the use for producing energy after separating the waste that is not suitable for recycling or other uses, are carried out, and finally, disposal after separating the waste that is suitable for recycling or other uses is carried out. The order of priority for waste management is applied in view of the principles of environmental protection, the protection of resources, as well as an overall impact on the environment and public health.

When the provision (impugned by the petitioner) of Item 166.4 of the Waste Management Plan to the effect that, as mentioned before, oil producers and importers must perform the following tasks of managing oil waste—to regenerate, recycle or otherwise use (for example, for producing energy and fuel which is in compliance with quality requirements for liquid fuel), as from 2008, at least 30 percent, whilst, as from 2012, at least 50 percent of oil waste (calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year)—is construed in this context of the legal regulation established in the Law on Waste Management, it should be noted that when performing this task of managing oil waste, oil producers and importers must, firstly, regenerate, then recycle, and, finally, if the first two ways of managing oil waste are unavailable, otherwise use oil waste.

  1. It has been mentioned that the petitioner requests an investigation into the compliance (to the extent indicated by the petitioner) of Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan with Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

5.1. The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the principles enshrined in Article 46 of the Constitution are seen as a whole—the constitutional basis of the economy of this country—therefore, the provisions of all the paragraphs of this article are interrelated and supplement each other; the balance is maintained among the principles enshrined therein, each of them should be construed  without denying the other principles, and, if a legal norm in one or more of the paragraphs of this article is violated, the legal norms laid down in the other paragraphs of this article are violated as well, or preconditions are created for their violation.

Paragraph 1 of Article 46 of the Constitution prescribes that Lithuania’s economy is based on the right of private ownership, freedom of individual economic activity and initiative. In its rulings, the Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the notion of freedom of individual economic activity and initiative that is consolidated in Paragraph 1 of Article 46 of the Constitution is broad, it is based on the innate individual freedom of the human being and the innate right to possess property. This notion includes the right to freely choose business, the right to freely conclude contracts, the freedom of fair competition, the equality of rights of economic entities, etc. Freedom of individual economic activity and initiative are the whole complex of legal opportunities, which creates preconditions for a person to independently adopt decisions necessary for their economic activity. The freedom of economic activity is not absolute, and a person may exercise it in observance of certain mandatory requirements and limitations (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2005, 31 May 2006, 5 March 2008, and 6 January 2011). On the other hand, under the Constitution, the state is not allowed to interfere with individual economic activity without any limitations, therefore, it is impermissible, by means of established limitations, to deny the essential provisions of freedom of economic activity such as the equality of rights of economic entities, fair competition, etc.

In its rulings, the Constitutional Court has also held on more than one occasion that, under the Constitution, it is permitted to limit individual rights and freedoms, including freedom of economic activity, provided that the following conditions are met: this is done by law; the limitations are necessary in a democratic society in order to protect the rights and freedoms of other persons and the values consolidated in the Constitution, as well as constitutionally important objectives; the limitations do not deny the nature and essence of rights and freedoms; the constitutional principle of proportionality is observed (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 26 January 2004, 13 May 2005, 26 February 2010, and 21 June 2011).

Paragraph 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution prescribes that the state regulates economic activity so that it serves the general welfare of the nation. The said provision consolidates the constitutional principle that outlines the objectives, directions, ways, and limits of the regulation of economic activity (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 6 October 1999, 6 January 2011, 21 June 2011, 24 May 2013, and 5 July 2013). The Constitutional Court has noted that, in order to regulate economic activity in such a way that it can serve the general welfare of the nation, the state may establish a differentiated legal regulation determined by the specificity of a certain economic activity; the state, by taking account of the specificity of a certain economic activity, may use different means of legal regulation (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 2 March 2009, 3 February 2010, and 24 May 2013). The state, when regulating an economic activity, must follow the principle of the reconciliation of the interests of a person and society and must ensure the interests of both a private person (a subject of economic activity) and society (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2005, 6 January 2011, 21 June 2011, and 24 May 2013).

As a rule, the regulation of an economic activity is linked to the establishment of conditions for economic activity, the regulation of certain procedures, the control of economic activity, as well as to certain limitations on and prohibitions against this activity (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2005, 5 March 2008, 8 October 2009, 26 February 2010, 6 January 2011, and 21 June 2012); when a person takes part in an economic activity, special law-established limitations may be imposed on them (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2005, 31 May 2006, and 21 June 2011).

5.2. The constitutional values upon which the national economy is founded are closely linked to other constitutional values (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 May 2005), inter alia, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 December 2008, 2 March 2009, 29 September 2010, and 24 May 2013).

The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is especially capacious; it comprises a range of various interrelated imperatives. The constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law must be followed both in making and implementing law.

The principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Constitution implies the hierarchy of legal acts. In its acts, the Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that this constitutional principle does not permit that substatutory legal acts (thus, government resolutions as well) establish any such legal regulation which would compete with that established by law, that substatutory legal acts may not be in conflict with laws, constitutional laws and the Constitution, that substatutory legal acts must be adopted on the basis of laws, that a substatutory legal act is an act of the application of norms of a law, irrespective of whether that act is of one-time (ad hoc) application or of permanent validity (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 6 September 2007, 9 March 2010, 18 April 2012, 20 February 2013, and 9 May 2013). The Constitution prohibits the regulation of those relations, by means of legal acts of lower power, that may be regulated only by means of legal acts of higher power (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 29 November 2007, 2 September 2009, and 18 April 2012). The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that laws establish rules of general nature, while substatutory legal acts may particularise them and regulate the procedure for their implementation (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 26 October 1995, 19 December 1996, and 5 March 2004). In the constitutional jurisprudence, it has been noted that the duty of the Government to adopt substatutory acts that are necessary for the implementation of laws stems directly from the Constitution, while in case there is a commissioning by the legislature to do so, it also stems from laws and Seimas resolutions concerning the implementation of laws. Among other things, the Constitutional Court, when construing the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, also held that in cases where the Constitution does not require the regulation of certain relations that are indicated therein specifically by law, and where, under the Constitution, the regulation of such relations is not assigned to the exclusive competence of other institutions executing the state power, inter alia, the Government, the legislature may also establish in a law that certain relations are regulated by the Government or an institution authorised by it (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 5 May 2007).

When construing the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Constitutional Court noted that, under the Constitution, the legislature has a duty to lay down such legal regulation under which the measures that are established in legal acts and applied would be proportionate to the objective sought and would not limit individual rights more than it is necessary in order to attain a legitimate and universally significant objective (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 31 January 2011 and 5 July 2013).

5.3. It should be noted that freedom of economic activity consolidated in Paragraph 1 of Article 46 of the Constitution is not absolute: as mentioned before, Paragraph 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution provides that the state regulates economic activity so that it serves the general welfare of the nation; the said provision consolidates the constitutional principle that outlines the objectives, directions, ways, and limits of the regulation of economic activity; as a rule, the regulation of economic activity is linked to the establishment of conditions for economic activity, the regulation of certain procedures, the control of economic activity, as well as to certain limitations on and prohibitions against this activity.

5.3.1. The provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution to the effect that the state regulates economic activity so that it serves the general welfare of the nation should be construed, inter alia, in conjunction with Paragraph 1 of Article 53 of the Constitution which prescribes that the state takes care of people’s health.

When construing Paragraph 1 of Article 53 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court held that public and human health is one of the most important public values (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 11 July 2002, 29 September 2005, 2 September 2009, and 21 June 2011), as well as that the protection of people’s health is a constitutionally important objective, a public interest, whilst looking after people’s health is a state function (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 14 January 2002, 26 January 2004, 29 September 2005, 2 September 2009, and 21 June 2011). Therefore, such a limitation on economic activity which aims at protecting people’s health should be treated as designed for ensuring the general welfare of the nation, and, if heed is paid to the requirements that stem from the Constitution, should not constitute in itself a violation of the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 29 September 2005 and 21 June 2011).

5.3.2. The provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution should also be construed in conjunction with Paragraph 3 of Article 53 and Article 54 of the Constitution.

Under Paragraph 3 of Article 53 of the Constitution, the state and each person must protect the environment from harmful influences. A duty to protect the environment and to compensate for the harm to the natural environment, if it has been done, arises to all persons, since environmental protection is a public interest (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 29 October 2003).

Article 54 of the Constitution prescribes:

“The state shall take care of the protection of the natural environment, wildlife and plants, individual objects of nature and areas of particular value and shall supervise a sustainable use of natural resources, their restoration and increase.

The destruction of land and the underground, the pollution of water and air, radioactive impact on the environment as well as depletion of wildlife and plants shall be prohibited by law.“

Thus, one of the objectives of the activities of the state, i.e. to ensure people’s rights to a healthy and clean environment, is formulated by this norm. The environment, as a rule, is understood as the entirety of interrelated elements (the surface and the underground of the earth, air, water, soil, flora, fauna, organic and non-organic substances, anthropogenic components), which functions in the nature, as well as natural and anthropogenic systems that unite them (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 1 June 1998).

In its rulings, the Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that environmental protection is the concern and obligation of the state and the population and that both public and private interests must be devoted to improve the quality of the environment (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2005, 22 June 2009, and 31 January 2011).

Under the Constitution, the natural environment, fauna and flora, individual objects of the nature, as well as areas of particular value are national values of universal importance (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2005, 14 March 2006, and 31 January 2011). The proper and rational use and protection of land, forests and water bodies is a public interest protected by the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2005 and 31 January 2011); the state, being under the constitutional obligation to act so that the protection of the natural environment and its individual objects, the rational use of natural resources, their restoration and increase are ensured, may establish, by means of a law, such legal regulation under which the use of individual objects (natural resources) of the natural environment would be limited (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 6 September 2007 and 4 July 2008).

A duty for all persons to conserve the nature and to compensate for the harm (damages) to the natural environment, when it (they) has (have) been caused, stems from the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 53 of the Constitution that the state and each person must protect the environment from harmful influences, as well as from the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 54 of the Constitution that the state takes care of the protection of the natural environment, wildlife and plants, individual objects of nature and areas of particular value and supervises a sustainable use of natural resources, their restoration and increase, and from the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 54 of the Constitution that the destruction of land and the underground, the pollution of water and air, radioactive impact on the environment as well as depletion of wildlife and plants are prohibited by law (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 29 October 2003).

Thus, it should be noted that such a limitation on economic activity which aims at protecting the environment from harmful influences, conserving the nature, using its resources in a rational manner, and compensating for the harm caused to the natural environment should be treated as designed for ensuring the general welfare of the nation and, if heed is paid to the requirements that stem from the Constitution, should not constitute in itself a violation of the Constitution.

5.4. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that the requirement stems from the Constitution, inter alia, Paragraph 3 of Article 46, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 53, and Article 54 thereof, for the legislature to establish, when regulating economic activity, such its limitations which would aim at ensuring the general welfare of the nation, inter alia, at protecting against harmful influences on human health and the environment, using natural resources in a rational manner, and compensating for the harm caused to the environment. In the course of fulfilling this requirement, heed must be paid to the requirements that stem from the Constitution, inter alia, from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. Among other things, this means that, by means of legal regulation, it is possible to establish such duties of economic entities that would not restrict freedom of their activity more than it is necessary to achieve constitutionally significant objectives regarding the protection of human health and environmental protection.

It should be noted that, when the duties of economic entities in relation to the protection of human health and environmental protection against harmful influences, the rational use of natural resources and the compensation for the harm caused to the natural environment are established by means of a law, the Government may also be entrusted with adopting substatutory legal acts necessary for the implementation of such a law and, inter alia, for the regulation of the performance of the duties of economic entities established by the said law.

  1. The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, as a source of construction of law, is also important for the construction and application of Lithuanian law.

It should be mentioned that, in its jurisprudence, the European Court of Human Rights also emphasises the importance of environmental protection in today’s society (the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 18 February 1991 in the case of Fredin v. Sweden (No. 1), application No. 12033/86; the judgment of 10 November 2004 in the case of Taşkin and Others v. Turkey, application No. 46117/99, and other cases). While noting the margin of appreciation given to the states in environmental matters (the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights of 8 July 2003 in the case of Hatton and Others v. the United Kingdom, application No. 36022/97), the European Court of Human Rights indicated, in its case-law, that the protection of the nature and forests, and, more generally, of the environment is a constant and sustained interest of the public, therefore, the financial imperatives of the state and even the fundamental rights such as the right to ownership may not deny the priority afforded to environmental protection (the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 8 July 2008 in the case of Turgut and Others v. Turkey, application No. 1411/03).

  1. It has been mentioned that the petitioner has doubts regarding the compliance of Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan, insofar as oil producers and importers were (are) set a mandatory task of regenerating or recycling (or otherwise using), as from 2008, at least 30 percent of oil waste, calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year, with the Constitution, since it establishes such an obligation on oil producers and importers (a condition for economic activity) that may be assessed as an unjustifiable and disproportionate (to the objectives pursued) restriction of economic activity, since it may be objectively impossible to fulfil such an obligation (the collection of oil waste does not depend solely on oil producers and importers) or the economic costs of performing it may be disproportionate for oil producers and importers.
  2. As mentioned before, under Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan, oil producers and importers were set a mandatory task of managing oil waste to regenerate, recycle or otherwise use (for example, for producing energy and fuel which is in compliance with quality requirements for liquid fuel), from 2008 till 2012, not all oil waste but its minimum amount—30 percent—calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the Lithuanian market per year. This task was set pursuant to Article 26 of the Law on Waste Management.

After summing up, in this Constitutional Court’s ruling, the provisions of the Law on Waste Management and the Waste Management Plan that are related to the legal regulation established in Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan, it has been held that, under the said provisions:

– the principle of producer responsibility, which aims at ensuring the maximum collection and recycling of product waste as well as the maximum use of secondary raw materials, and the “polluter pays” principle, which means that the costs of managing waste must be paid by the producer or importer of products, the use of which produces waste, are applied to the producers and importers of products, inter alia, of oil;

– subjects participating in waste management activities, inter alia, oil producers and importers, are responsible for ensuring that their activity related to oil waste management is in line with the order of priority for waste management; the order of priority for waste management is applied in view of the principles of environmental protection, the protection of resources, as well as an overall impact on the environment and public health;

– oil waste must be treated in accordance with the requirements established for hazardous waste.

8.1. It has been mentioned that the requirement stems from the Constitution, inter alia, Paragraph 3 of Article 46, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 53, and Article 54 thereof, for the legislature to establish, when regulating economic activity, such its limitations which would aim at ensuring the general welfare of the nation, inter alia, at protecting against harmful influences on human health and the environment, using natural resources in a rational manner, and compensating for the harm caused to the natural environment; in the course of fulfilling this requirement, heed must be paid to the requirements that stem from the Constitution, inter alia, from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law; among other things, this means that, by means of legal regulation, it is possible to establish such duties of economic entities that would not restrict freedom of their activity more than it is necessary to achieve constitutionally significant objectives regarding the protection of human health and environmental protection; when the duties of economic entities in relation to the protection of human health and environmental protection against harmful influences, as well as the rational use of natural resources, are established by means of a law, the Government may also be entrusted with adopting substatutory legal acts necessary for the implementation of such a law and, inter alia, for the regulation of the performance of the duties of economic entities established by the said law.

In this context, it should be noted that, when regulating the organisation of waste management as one of the types of economic activity, the legislature must take account of the fact that improperly managed waste endangers the environment, human and public health, and it must also pay heed to the imperative of using natural resources in a rational manner. Therefore, when enforcing the Law on Waste Management, one may establish the duty of economic entities, where it is technically possible, first of all, to recycle waste in such a way which would allow making products from it intended for the same or other purposes, and, if there is no possibility of recycling this waste, otherwise use it without making any significant negative impacts on human and public health, as well as the environment; the Government, by means of legal acts, may detail the procedure for the enforcement of this duty.

8.2. It has also been mentioned that, when the provision (impugned by the petitioner) of Item 166.4 of the Waste Management Plan is construed in the context of the legal regulation established in the Law on Waste Management, oil producers and importers must, firstly, regenerate, then recycle, and, finally, if the first two ways of managing oil waste are unavailable, otherwise use oil waste.

8.3. Thus, when setting, in Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan, a mandatory task of managing oil waste for oil producers and importers to regenerate, recycle or otherwise use (for example, for producing energy and fuel which is in compliance with quality requirements for liquid fuel), from 2008 till 2012, 30 percent of oil waste, calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the Lithuanian market per year, the Government pursued constitutionally significant objectives regarding the protection of human health and environmental protection; when setting such a task, the Government paid heed to the requirements that stem from the Constitution. It should be noted that the fact that a duty to manage the indicated amount of oil in one of the above-mentioned ways is imposed on oil producers and importers does not allow stating that the regulation established in Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan is disproportionate to the aforementioned constitutionally significant objectives that are pursued, or that it would objectively be impossible to implement this regulation.

In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that Item 166.4 (wordings of 31 October 2007 and 1 December 2010) of the Waste Management Plan, as approved by government resolution No. 519 of 12 April 2002, insofar as oil producers and importers were (are) set a mandatory task of regenerating or recycling (or otherwise using), as from 2008, at least 30 percent of oil waste, calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year, is (was) not in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 46 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 531, 54, 55, 56, and 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

To recognise that Item 166.4 (wording of 31 October 2007, Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 122-5003; wording of 1 December 2010; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2010, No. 146-7486) of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan, as approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 519) “On the Approval of the State Strategic Waste Management Plan” of 12 April 2002, insofar as oil producers and importers were (are) set a mandatory task of regenerating or recycling (or otherwise using), as from 2008, at least 30 percent of oil waste, calculating on the basis of the amount of oil placed on the market per year, is (was) not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                       Elvyra Baltutytė

                                                                                                           Vytautas Greičius

                                                                                                           Danutė Jočienė

                                                                                                           Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                                           Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                                           Vytas Milius

                                                                                                           Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                                           Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                                           Dainius Žalimas