Summary: 1. Introduction: The Legal Regime for Using Natural Healing Resources in Ukraine. – 2. Climate as a Healing Resource – 3. Legal Responsibility and Judicial Practice for Using Natural Healing Resources. – 4. Concluding Remarks.
This note is devoted to the issue of regulating the use of natural healing resources in Ukraine, the European Union, and other countries. Natural resources have been found to have many functions, but one of the most important is the ability to use them as a means of preserving or maintaining human health. For this reason, natural healing resources are subject to a special legal regime. Public relations arising from the use and protection of natural healing resources are subjected to legal regulation and devoted to the identification and accounting of natural healing resources, ensuring their rational extraction, use, and protection in order to create favourable conditions for treatment, disease prevention, and recreation.
Despite the wide range of healing properties in various natural objects, the environmental legislation of Ukraine contains only a small number of rules on their use. This problem is most fully disclosed in the Water Code of Ukraine, which not only enshrines the procedure for assigning certain water resources to the category of healing but also provides for the adoption of special law statutes and regulations regarding the list of existing water bodies in Ukraine and their inherent healing functions.
These regulations highlight the fact that most of the natural healing resources specified in the list belong to the sphere of subsoil use. However, there are no norms in the Subsoil Code of Ukraine that would regulate the use and protection of such objects. Instead, the Subsoil Code of Ukraine contains general rules on basic requirements in the field of subsoil protection, as well as a special article on the protection of subsoil areas of special scientific or cultural value. Healing resources are not mentioned, which is a glaring omission.
Situation analysis of the national legal system regarding the use of natural healing resources has shown the need to restructure the legislation, with the primary task of protecting and preserving the healing properties of such sources. For this purpose, the existing practice of public relations among developed European countries, as well as the positive experience in this area, should be taken into account to achieve effective improvement of the legislation system of Ukraine.
Studying the issue of prosecution for violation of the rules on the use of natural healing resources or causing damage to them suggests that the national legal system is based on economic interests, without prioritising the preservation of the healing value of such sources. As a result, Ukraine’s policy to preserve the healing properties of natural objects is not characterised by effective methods, significantly reducing the number of such unique and useful resources.
The analysis of court cases is evidence that the practice of effective protection and restoration of healing resources is not common. The number of such cases is currently too small when compared with those regarding damages to such natural resources caused by legal entities and individuals.