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Environmental Impacts Assessment Act (Gesetz über die Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung, UVPG) – Excerpts

Long title: Act on the Assessment of Environmental Impacts

In the version published on 12 February 1990 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 205), as last amended by an Act of 18 August 1997 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 2081)

Translation provided by Inter Nationes and reproduced with kind permission.


Table of Contents

Article 1 Purpose of the Act
Article 2 Definitions
Article 3 Area of Application
Article 4 Primacy of other Statutory Provisions
Article 5 Information on the Probable Scope of Examination
Article 6 Documents of the Developer
Article 7 Participation of other Authorities
Article 8 Participation of Authorities of other Countries
Article 9 Involvement of the Public
Article 10 Maintenance of Secrecy and Data Protection
Article 11 Summarised Description of Environmental Impacts
Article 12 Assessment of Environmental Impacts and Taking them into Account during the Resulting Decision-Making
Article 13 Provisional Decision (Vorbescheid) and Partial Approvals (Teilzulassungen)
Article 14 Authorisation of a Project by Several Authorities
Article 15 Defining General Routing and Consent for the Development of Airports
Article 16 Regional Planning Procedures and Authorisation Procedures
Article 17 Preparation of Construction Plans
Article 18 Procedures under Mining Law
Article 19 Procedures on the Consolidation of Farmland (Flurbereinigungsverfahren)
Article 20 Administrative Regulations


Article 1 Purpose of the Act

The purpose of this Act is to ensure that for the projects set out in the Appendix to Article 3 in order to guarantee effective preventative environmental protection on the basis of uniform principles:

1. the effects on the environment are identified, described and assessed in time and comprehensively,

2. the results of the environmental impact assessment are taken into account as early as possible in all cases in which authorities decide upon the approval of projects.

Article 2 Definitions

(1) The environmental impact assessment represents an integral part of procedures applied by authorities when deciding upon the approval of projects. Environmental impact assessment comprises identification, description and assessment of a project’s effects on

1. human beings, animals and plants, soil, water, air, climate and landscape, including the individual interaction that may occur,

2. cultural goods and other material assets.

Environmental impact assessments are conducted with the involvement of the public. If approval of the project is decided upon by several procedures, the individual assessments carried out in these procedures are compiled to provide an overall assessment of all environmental impacts, including interactions.

(2) Pursuant to the Appendix(1) to Article 3, “projects” mean

1. construction works which are to be installed or operated,

2. other plants which are to be installed or operated,

3. other interventions in the natural surroundings and landscape,

4. considerable alterations to a plant pursuant to subparas 1 and 2 as far as they have significant effects on the environment.

(3) For the purposes of para. 1, sentence 1 “decisions” mean

1. licence (Bewilligung), permission (Erlaubnis), development consent (Genehmigung), plan approval (Planfeststellungsbeschluß) and other decisions on the approval of projects taken by authorities within the framework of an administrative procedure, except for notification procedures,

2. General routing provisions and decisions in advance procedures, which are of significance for subsequent procedures,

3. Resolutions pursuant to Article 10 of the Town and Country Planning Code (Baugesetzbuch) on the drawing up, alterations to or additions to the development plan which may provide the basis for decisions on the approval of projects within the meaning of the Appendix to Article 3, as well as resolutions pursuant to Article 10 of the Town and Country Planning Code on development plans which replace plan approvals for projects within the meaning of the Appendix to Article 3.

Article 3 Area of Application

(1) Projects mentioned in the Appendix to this Act are subject to an assessment of their environmental impacts. The Federal Government shall be empowered by means of statutory ordinances with the consent of the Bundesrat

1. to include in the Appendix projects which may have significant effects on the environment,

2. to remove from the Appendix projects which, according to present findings, do not involve significant effects on the environment, in compliance with any legal instrument of the Council or Commission of the European Communities.

Statutory ordinances issued on the basis of this entitlement require the consent of the Bundestag. The consent shall be deemed to be given if the Bundestag does not refuse to give the Federal Government consent within three weeks of session after receipt of the paper.

Article 4 Primacy of other Statutory Provisions

This Act shall apply as far as Federal or Länder statutory provisions do not define assessment of environmental impacts more closely or as far as their provisions do not meet the requirements of this Act. Statutory provisions containing more stringent requirements shall not be affected.

Article 5 Information on the Probable Scope of Examination

As soon as the developer informs the competent authority on the planned project this authority shall discuss with him subject, extent and methods of the environmental impact assessment as well as other questions of significance for the conduct of the assessment according to the respective state of planning and on the basis of suitable documents provided by the developer. For this purpose other authorities, experts and third parties may be called in. The competent authority shall inform the developer on the probable scope of the assessment as well as on the type and scope of the documents probably to be provided according to Article 6. If the competent authority has information at its disposal which is of use for the provision of the documents pursuant to Article 6 it shall make this information available to the developer.

Article 6 Documents of the Developer

(1) The developer shall present to the competent authority the documents which are of significance for a decision on the project’s environmental impacts at the beginning of the procedure during which the environmental impacts are assessed. If beginning the procedures requires a written application, the presentation of a plan or other action by the developer, the documents required pursuant to sentence 1 shall be submitted early enough for them to be presented along with the other documents.

(2) The content and extent of the documents pursuant to para. 1 shall be defined by statutory provisions which are authoritative for decisions on the approval of the project. Paras 3 and 4 shall be applied as far as the documents mentioned in these paragraphs have not been defined in detail by statutory provisions.

(3) The documents pursuant to para. 1 shall contain at least the following information:

1. a description of the project giving details on the site, design and size of the project as well as the amount of land required,

2. a description of the type and the quantity of the emissions and residual substances to be expected, in particular of the air pollutants, wastes and waste water as well as other information which is necessary for determining and assessing significant impacts on the environment by the project,

3. a description of measures by which significant impacts on the environment may be prevented, reduced or set off as far as possible, as well as of substituting measures in the case of interventions in the natural surroundings and landscape which cannot be set off but which have priority nonetheless,

4. a description of the significant effects of the project on the environment which pays regard to the general level of knowledge and the generally acknowledged assessment methods.

A generally comprehensible summary of the information given in subparas 1 to 4 shall be enclosed.

(4) The documents pursuant to para. 1 shall also contain the following information as far as the type of projects makes them necessary for the assessment of environmental impacts and provision of them by the developer can reasonably be expected:

1. a description of the most important characteristics of the applied technical procedures,

2. a description of the environment and its elements which pays regard to the general level of knowledge and the generally acknowledged assessment methods, as far as this is necessary for determining and assessing all other significant effects of the project which are of relevance for the project’s approval,

3. an overview of the most important alternative projects assessed by the developer and information on the essential grounds for selecting the relevant project with regard being paid in particular to the project’s effects on the environment,

4. an indication of difficulties encountered when compiling the information, e.g. technical gaps or lack of knowledge.

The generally comprehensible summary pursuant to para. 3 sentence 2 also has to include the information contained in subparas 1 to 3.

(5) Paras 1 to 4 shall be applied mutatis mutandis if the competent authority acts on behalf of that corporate body under public law which is the developer of the project.

Article 7 Participation of other Authorities

Article 8 Participation of Authorities of other Countries

(1) If a project might have significant effects on the assets worth being protected, which are mentioned in Article 2 para. 1 sentence 2, of another member state of the European Communities, the authorities determined by the member state shall be informed of the project at the same time and to the same extent as the authorities involved pursuant to Article 7. If the other member state has not determined the authorities to be involved, the member state’s highest authority responsible for environmental protection shall be informed.

(2) If a project might have significant effects on the assets worth being protected, which are mentioned in Article 2 para. 1 sentence 2, of another neighbouring state of the Federal Republic of Germany which is not a member state of the European Communities, para. 1 shall apply mutatis mutandis under the requirements of the principles of reciprocity and equivalence.

(3) Consultations held with the authorities of the other member state on the basis of information pursuant to para. 1 or with the authorities of the neighbouring state pursuant to para. 2 shall be held in accordance with the principles of reciprocity and equivalence. The principle of equivalence shall apply to procedures and assessment criteria which are used in the Federal Republic of Germany and the other member states or in the neighbouring state.

(4) Obligations of the Federation and the Länder under international law shall not be affected.

Article 9 Involvement of the Public

(1) The competent authority shall hear the public on the project’s environmental impacts on the basis of the documents presented pursuant to Article 6. The hearing procedure shall be conducted pursuant to the requirements of Article 73 paras 3 to 7 of the Act on Administrative Procedures (Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz). If the developer alters the documents required pursuant to Article 6 in the course of the procedures, the public need not be heard a second time as long as no additional or other significant effects on the environment are to be feared.

(2) The competent authority shall make available the decision on the approval of the project and the grounds for decision to those concerned, where names are known, and those on whose objections a decision was made. If the project is dismissed those concerned whose names are known and those who made objections shall be informed.

(3) Notwithstanding paras 1 and 2 the public shall be involved in the advance procedure by

1. the project being announced publicly,

2. the documents required pursuant to Article 6 being made available for inspection for a reasonable period of time,

3. an opportunity being given for the public to express its opinion,

4. the public being informed about the decision.

Involving the public does not constitute legal claims. Pursuit of claims in subsequent approval procedures shall not be affected.

Article 10 Maintenance of Secrecy and Data Protection

Article 11 Summarised Description of Environmental Impacts

The competent authority shall summarise the project’s impacts on the assets worth being protected which are mentioned in Article 2 para. 1 sentence 2, including interactions, on the basis of the documents pursuant to Article 6, the statements made by authorities pursuant to Articles 7 and 8, as well as on the basis of opinions voiced by the public in line with Article 9. The results of investigations carried out by the competent authority itself shall be incorporated. The summarising description shall be prepared, if possible, no less than one month after the consultations during the hearing procedure pursuant to Article 9 para. 1 sentence 2 have been completed. The summarising description may be given with the grounds for the decision on the project’s approval.

Article 12 Assessment of Environmental Impacts and Taking them into Account during the Resulting Decision-Making

The competent authority shall assess the project’s environmental impacts on the basis of the summarised representation pursuant to Article 11 and shall take into account this assessment when deciding upon approval of the project with regard to efficient prevention of environmental damage pursuant to Articles 1, 2 para. 1 sentences 2 and 4 pursuant to the applicable laws.

Article 13 Provisional Decision (Vorbescheid) and Partial Approvals (Teilzulassungen)

Article 14 Authorisation of a Project by Several Authorities

Article 15 Defining General Routing and Consent for the Development of Airports

Article 16 Regional Planning Procedures and Authorisation Procedures

Article 17 Preparation of Construction Plans

Article 18 Procedures under Mining Law

Article 19 Procedures on the Consolidation of Farmland (Flurbereinigungsverfahren)

Article 20 Administrative Regulations


Endnote:

1.

* Editor’s note: The Appendix has not been printed in this edition.

The above translation was published by Inter Nationes. Reproduced with kind permission. This HTML edition by Lawrence Schäfer and © 2001 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.