>> Appointment of the new director of the Czech Environmental Inspection (ČIŽP), February 17, 2023, Prague. Minister of the Environment The new director of the Czech Environmental Inspectorate (ČIŽP) Petr Bejček at a press conference.
Prague – The Czech Environmental Inspectorate (ČIŽP) will be led by Petr Bejček (39), the current state secretary at the Ministry of Finance. He will start on March 1, Minister of the Environment Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) said at a press conference today. Among other things, he promises to improve the efficiency and reputation of the inspection. Bejček wants to focus on improving the internal operation of the office, its digitization. He also intends to investigate how not only the inspectors proceeded in solving the accident on the Bečva River in 2020.
In the case of Bečva, Bejček is based only on public sources. According to him, communication between individual actors, not only inspectors, but also firefighters and the water authority, failed fatally. He therefore wants to revise procedures and bring the response to major accidents closer to crisis management. “So that everyone knows what to do, where to call,” he said. According to him, precisely because key evidence was not collected after the accident, it is now impossible to find out the cause of the accident, which resulted in the death of tens of tons of fish in the river.
According to Jurečka, the inspection activity plan needs to be revised. It is good to analyze the case so that the wrong procedure is not repeated. Bejček did not rule out personnel changes, but he wants to focus mainly on improving the internal procedures of the inspection. Under his leadership, it should devote more attention to “big cases”, the solution of which it has the background, more marginal ones should not be neglected, according to him, but other administrative bodies should deal with them more often.
“The Czech Inspectorate receives up to thousands of complaints every year, which is absolutely correct, but some of those complaints, I think, do not need to be dealt with so intensively, and can therefore be dealt with by other bodies that are competent for this, because those competences are cases overlap. And the Czech inspectorate should focus especially on the big cases, because in this respect it has the best qualifications and personnel background,” said Bejček.
Bejček became state secretary at the Ministry of Finance in October 2018. He came there from the Agency for Nature and Landscape Protection, where he had previously worked as the director of a separate legal and personnel department. He graduated from the Faculty of Law of Charles University in Prague and the Faculty of Environment at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, majoring in regional environmental management. In the role of director of ČIŽP, he intends to apply his management experience with experience in state administration and knowledge of environmental protection.
The former director of the inspection, Erik Geuss, submitted a request to be removed from his position on December 7 last October. Last May, he announced his intention to resign due to the political pressure he felt after the poisoning of the Bečva river in September 2020. He insists that the inspection proceeded correctly in finding the causes of the poisoning of the river. He had previously stated that he would like to warn his successor especially about the hazardous waste business, which he considers to be a big problem.
The resort held a selection process even before the end of last year, but none of the candidates at that time showed enough competence and prerequisites to control this function. From January 1, according to the amendment to the Civil Service Act, candidates outside the civil service could also apply for the newly advertised procedure. Based on it, Jureček Bejček was appointed today, following the appointment decision issued by the State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Simeona Zikmundová.
Jureček also reminded of the amendment to the Water Act, which the office is submitting to the comment procedure. In response to the environmental disaster in Bečva, the amendment should introduce stricter penalties for offenses related to the pollution of watercourses. For example, companies should face a fine of up to 25 million crowns for releasing dangerous substances into rivers, compared to the current maximum amount of five million crowns.