EC takes enforcement action on Environmental Impact Assessment

Germany risks a second time in court for failing to ensure that environmental impact assessments are undertaken for projects specified in an EU directive.


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Six other member countries have been issued warnings for their failure to transpose amendments to the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, which were due to be transposed by March last year. These amendments involve a widening of the range of projects that must be subject to an environmental impact assessment. The countries given warnings are:

  • Austria
  • France
  • Luxembourg
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • UK

In Germany’s case, the problem originates from its failure to implement properly the original Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, introduced in 1985. A court case, concluded in 1998, confirmed the EC’s allegations that Germany “had infringed the directive by not requiring an environmental impact assessment for all projects for which such an assessment had to be carried out”. Since the ruling in 1998, Germany has not acted and this new warning from the EC specifically mentions the possibility of a second court case, at which a fine could be imposed.

Ireland has also been condemned by the European Court for its failure to implement the original directive.

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