Acceleration of EIA procedures became law
A revised version of the Act on the Development and Advancement of the Economic Location Austria (Standortentwicklungsgesetz – StEntG) has entered into force on January 1st, 2019. Intending to accelerate EIA procedures for certain large-scale projects, the first draft version of the Act obliged authorities to permit projects provided that they had not been rejected within one year. This draft has been subject to various criticism and negative statements by different stakeholders, including ÖKOBÜRO. The now published Act, inter alia, enables applicants to file a complaint transferring the matter – after a twelve months duration of the proceeding – to the Administrative Court without a prior decision by the responsible authority. This may deprive other pArt.ies of one instance and worsens their legal protection decisively. For this and many other reasons, various doubts regarding the Act’s consistency with constitutional as well as European or international provisions remain.
Public consultation on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention at EU level
After the ACCC (Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee) had found that the EU does not comply with the provisions of the Convention on Access to Justice, the European Commission is now conducting a comprehensive study to examine the extent to which access to justice in environmental matters has been implemented at EU level and by which mechanisms. Therefore a public consultation has been launched from 20.12.2018 - 14.03.2019.
The aim of the consultation is to collect information and opinions on the relevance of the Aarhus Convention and on the EU Aarhus Regulation and in pArt.icular on the effectiveness of the mechanisms to ensure the review of EU acts. In addition to the evaluation of the current situation this initiative shall also assess options to address compliance and their possible economic, social and environmental impacts.
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