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Last changed: 13/07/11
The Baltic Republics intend to erect offshore wind turbines on a major scale. No guidance exists as yet on how to identify and assess resulting impacts on the marine environment. UBA has published guidelines suggesting an impact assessment tailored to the circumstances of the Baltic Republics. The guidelines have been developed with support from the Advisory Assistance Programme.
In Germany, the obligation to carry out environmental assessments is regulated by the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVPG), the Federal Mining Act (BBergG) and the relevant ordinance on EIA (UVP-V Bergbau), the Building Code (BauGB), the Federal Regional Planning Act (ROG), and the law of the German Länder.
However, German provisions are mainly based on European law (in particular EIA Directive 337/85/EEC, SEA Directive 42/2001/EG) and on international law (in particular, Espoo Convention, SEA Protocol).
The term „environmental assessment“ includes
Environmental impact assessment is a procedure which in Germany is integrated into the procedures for the authorisation of specific projects, especially industrial installations and infrastructure projects. Whereas Strategic environmental assessment is an assessment procedure to be carried out as part of the elaboration of specific public plans and programmes.
Both assessment procedures follow the same principles. In both, the impacts on the environment (including human beings) have to be investigated and described early on. On the basis of appropriate documentation, the public and authorities with environmental responsibilities may give their opinion on the project or plan/programme and the likely environmental impacts. In the case of projects or plans/programmes with possible transboundary impacts, the public and the authorities of the affected other country may also participate in the procedure („Transboundary EIA/SEA“). Subsequently, the authority responsible for authorising the project or the body responsible for the elaboration of the plan/programme assesses all information resulting from this process including comments by the public and relevant authorities and takes it into account when deciding on the project or in further steps of the plan/programme preparation process.
The Federal Government has issued guidance documents and brochures to support the authorities responsible for deciding on the authorisation of projects or the bodies responsible for preparation of plans/programmes.
Transboundary environmental assessment may be a considerable challenge due to the differences in national law, administrative structures and cultural assets, including in particular different language. In order to ensure that transboundary environmental assessments proceed smoothly and swiftly, Germany has concluded bilateral agreements with different neighbouring countries. These agreements define the specific details of such transboundary procedures.
Further information on EIA and SEA is available at the website of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Natures Conservation and Nuclear Safety (Bundesumweltministerium - BMU), including information on