4. English Summary

 

This Newsflash issue hast he following contents: The first article informs about the results of the 2008 and 2009 studies on climate change legislation carried out by OEKOBUERO and its partner organizations within the framework of the J&E network. In 2008 research focused on existing legislation with a climate relevance in the Czech Republic, in Hungary, in Slovenia, in Estonia and in Austria, while in 2009 the drafts for Climate Protection Acts circulating in those countries were analyzed. Only in Estonia no public discussion over a CC Act had taken place at the time of writing of the study. Results of the research were amongst others: The existing legislation will not be enough to fulfill the international obligations of the states in question, at least in the long run (Hungary and the Czech Republic will be able to achieve the Kyoto targets due to the changes in industry and economy resulting from the political changes which occurred in the early 1990s). None of the states had implemented acts purely dedicated to climate change issues (mitigation, adaptation, research,…). The drafts which are circulation in many cases do not cover all issues relevant in the area. In Austria for example the most relevant drafts focus on the burden sharing between the federal state and the provinces and contain, for example, no provisions on adaptation to climate change or long-term reduction targets.

 

The second article focuses on the transposition of EU legislation on environmental liability into the legal systems of the Austrian provinces. On federal level an Environmental Liability Act was introduced in June following a judgment of the ECJ on Austria’s failure to fulfill its obligations contained in the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD, 2004/35/EC). A part of the obligations was to be fulfilled by provincial legislation (concerning the protection of soil and of protected species and habitats) due to the constitutional allocation of competences. For some provinces it took a bit longer but until today all of them (except for Salzburg where a draft version exists) have issued the respective acts. The Austrian transposition appears in line with the directive, but does not go far beyond. We expect little if any practical impact of national liability laws.

 

The third article centers on the OEKOBUERO and Justice and Environment (J&E) comments on two legislative proposals. One proposal concerns the revision of the Austrian Air Quality Act which is supposed to integrate the requirements of the EU Directive 2008/50/EC into the Austrian legal system such as new provisions on ultra fine particles (PM 2.5).  Positive aspects of the draft include the reduction of exception for cars and existing installations as regards air quality measures and provisions on the labeling of cars according to the Euro Standards. Criticism was voiced as regards the lack of possibility for the public concerned by exceedances of air quality limit values to demand action plans containing effective measures. At the same time there are no legal remedies in case measures are not taken. This contravenes ECJ case law (Case “Janecek” C-237/07) and the Aarhus Convention.

 

The second draft commented by OEKOBUERO and J&E concerned noise emissions from air traffic. The ordinance in question introduced noise limit values for dwellings affected by airplane noise. In case of exceedances measures against the noise are to be taken. We criticized the fact that the limit values are too high (62 dB during the day and 52 dB during the night as compared to the WHO recommendations of 50 dB/day and 40 dB night) and that the measures foreseen are focusing only on the dwellings and not for example on noise reduction trough a reduction of overflights or trough a changing of flight corridors.

geändert am 24.02.2010