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In brief

In recent years, environmental issues have been increasingly prioritized, leading to positive results in the development of national policies in Thailand. Many draft environmental legislations, which were previously stalled, are now regaining momentum as key enablers to drive Thailand towards a more sustainable future.

In depth

Some key environmental bills which have been made available to the public so far include:

  • Draft amendment to the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environment Quality Act, B.E. 2535 (1992) (NEQA) (“Draft New NEQA“)
  • Draft Sustainable Packaging Management Act (“Draft Packaging Act“)
  • Draft Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Management Act (“Draft WEEE Act“)

Additionally, in parallel with the development of these bills, a study is underway to introduce a new draft law, namely the “Draft Act on Sustainable Waste Management and Promotion of Circular Economy” (“Draft CE Act“). The Draft CE Act is intended to be the main governing law for the management and utilization of all types of waste, maximizing them as resources in a sustainable way and facilitating the transition to a circular economy with more responsible consumption. The Draft CE Act is expected to involve various governmental agencies, academic institutes, and the private sector in the drafting process.

This series of newsletters aims to provide an overview of significant concepts under these developing pieces of legislation. In Part I, we will discuss the Draft New NEQA. Part II and III will cover the Draft Packaging Act and Draft WEEE Act, respectively.

The Draft New NEQA

The NEQA is a primary environmental legislation, designed to take precedence over other laws regarding environmental issues. The provisions in the NEQA can be deemed as an umbrella framework law. It sets out an administrative framework and basis regarding various environmental issues and provides a basis for claims of environmental damage caused by pollutants. The NEQA sets out quality standard levels for water, air, noise levels and soil, with benchmarks for desirable environmental conditions.

The Draft New NEQA, which was already approved in principle by the Cabinet and recently completed the deliberation process by the Council of State, contains noteworthy points as outlined below:

  • Major environmental principles – Major environmental principles including the prevention principle, precautionary principle and polluter pays principle are taken into consideration.
  • Extended applicability – To include continental shelf and high seas.
  • Revised pollution control mechanism – The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment under the advisory of the Pollution Control Committee is empowered to determine and issue “pollution control standards at source” and criteria to categorize “pollution generating sources” with specific requirements including preparation of directory on pollution emission and movement and public disclosure of the directory.
  • Pollution control standards as licensing conditions – Once the pollution control standards at source are issued, the standards will be deemed as conditions of issuance and renewal of relevant licenses under the applicable laws. Violation of the standards may be subject to suspension, revocation, or rejection of renewal of the licenses.
  • Environmental collateral requirement – The Draft New NEQA includes a new requirement on placing collateral for damages on certain types of businesses or projects (to be determined by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment) that use harmful substances or have a nature that may significantly pollute or affect the natural environment, national environmental quality, human lives, public health or well-being.
  • Extended and more clarified civil liability – The criteria for calculating compensation are clearer, where damages will be calculated by considering the total affected area, other environmental effects, and the remedial period. Any person – not only the government – who helps contain a source of damage or limits the spread of pollution will also be entitled to compensation. The courts have discretion to impose punitive damages of up to four times the actual damages and may order a polluter to place a security for any possible future damages that it is unable to determine at the time of the judgment or order. The owner or possessor of the pollution generating sources will also be liable to the injured for the consequences of the actions of its employee or any third person who act for its benefit.

It should also be noted that the existing concepts under the current NEQA, such as the environmental fund and the requirements in connection with the EIA (environment impact assessment) and EHIA (environmental and health impact assessment), will be inherited in the Draft New NEQA.

The Draft New NEQA will be further considered by the Parliament. If enacted, the existing NEQA will be repealed and replaced by this new piece of legislation with an expectation on more effective pollution prevention and rectification of damages against the quality of the environment.

In the next issue, we will discuss notable concepts under the Draft Packaging Act. Meanwhile, if you have questions or wish to discuss specific implications on your business and how we can assist, please contact us.


Nam-Ake Lekfuangfu is a partner of the Employment & Compensation Practice Group in Bangkok. He is experienced not only in employment laws but also, corporate and commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, environment and trade regulations. Over the past year, Nam-Ake was lead lawyer for a wide range of employment matters involving high profile clients. With his extensive legal knowledge, combined with insights on industrial knowledge and practices and Supreme Court rulings, Nam-Ake assists clients on employment and immigration works, ranging from day-to-day advice to complex matters, such as advising on employment trends impacting employers globally, including global mobility, the use of modern workforce and gender pay gap.


Bulin joined Baker McKenzie in 2000 and became a partner in 2012. He is active in the Corporate and M&A Practice Group and is a lead partner in the Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Group, the Industrial Manufacturing and Transportation Industry Group, and the Sustainability Group.


Peerapan is a Corporate and M&A partner and heads the Sustainability Group and Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Group in Bangkok. She also co-heads the Investigations, Compliance & Ethics Practice Group in Bangkok and is currently a member of the Firm's Global Executive Committee. Peerapan has nearly 40 years of experience advising on transactional and regulatory matters in highly regulated industries. Peerapan is exceptionally fluent in regulatory matters relating to healthcare, consumer protection and product liability.
Peerapan also has extensive experience advising on compliance issues, risks facing companies across various industry sectors, and regularly assists clients in practically managing and mitigating those risks. She has been consistently recognized as 'Leading Individual’ in Corporate M&A by the Asia Pacific Legal 500 for eight consecutive years (2013-2020) and has been inducted into the Asia Pacific Legal 500 Hall of Fame in Corporate M&A in 2020-2023. More recently she has been shortlisted for Corporate and M&A Lawyer of the Year by the Legal 500 Southeast Asia Awards. Peerapan was also awarded ‘Client Choice winner’ for Healthcare & Life Sciences 2019 by Lexology.
In October 2022, Peerapan was elected to join the Global Executive Committee and serve as chair of the Asia Pacific region. In this role, Peerapan works alongside the Firm's leadership to drive forward the Firm’s business strategy and prioritized actions.


Varutt Kittichungchit is a Legal Professional in Baker McKenzie, Bangkok office.


Muanjit Chamsilpa is an Environmental Specialist in Baker & McKenzie Limited, Bangkok office.


Dhirananta Rithmanee is an Environmental Specialist in Baker McKenzie Bangkok office.

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