European Court of Justice (ECJ) demands legal protection for NGOs in all environmental procedures
In a preliminary ruling after a request from the Slovak Republic (ECJ 8.3.2011, C-240/09) the court ruled that according to art. 9 par. 3 of the Aarhus Convention and the principle of effectiveness of European environmental law members of the public such as environmental organisations must me given the possibility to appeal against decisions concerning environmental law such as nature protection. In Austria such standing is not granted to NGOs in all procedures but EIA, IPPC and environmental liability. Austria therefore needs to change its legislation in order to comply with EU law and the Aarhus Convention.
Administrative Court ruling about A5 motorway: Court considers itself a tribunal, yet
The Highest Austrian Administrative Court of Austria follows in its decision of August 2011 the verdict of the Constitutional Court and considers itself a tribunal in terms of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and Article 10a EIA directive. Before that there was a dispute between the Administrative and the Constitutional Court on this matter. The Court withdraws from its own previous case law without the use of an advanced senate or preliminary ruling of the ECJ. The call for an introduction of an infrastructure senate seems obsolete now (see previous newsflashes of this year). From ÖKOBÜRO’s point of view there is still a question concerning European law matters unsolved that should be ruled by the ECJ. And furthermore Austria`s legal position contradicts for the same reasons art. 9 par. 4 of the Aarhus Convention (principle of effective legal protection) since it does not provide for effective remedies.
Draft Federal Criteria Catalogue for the usage of hydro power (FCCHP)
The aim of the FCCHP is to set indicators for the use of exceptions from the principle to prevent deterioration of the status of all bodies of surface water in art. 4 par. 1 of the Water Framework Directive in order to harmonize application of this provision by the Austrian authorities. From our perspective the catalogue is too limited in scope since it follows only a case by case approach. It is therefore no strategic planning tool. Furthermore it is not legally binding, but has only recommendatory character. Finally we criticize that the catalogue was drafted without participation of a wide expert pool.
geändert am 06.06.2012