5. English Summary


The first two articles in this Newsflash edition provide a summary of the implementation report of the Austrian Act on Environmental Impact Assessment (in short EIA-act) for the years 2006 to 2009. According to the act the Minister of the Environment has to prepare such a report every three years and make it available to the parliament.


The report contains information on the implementation and further plans for legislative action (an amendment of the EIA-act was passed in August 2009). In addition there is an overview over all projects for which an EIA based on this act was carried out since its entry-into-force in 1993. The report makes reference to the EIA procedure itself, which in Austria is the same as the permit proceeding and also to the so-called “determination or declaratory procedure” which is used to determine if an EIA is carried out for a specific project. Also the activities of the “Environmental senate”, which acts as the court of appeal against decisions taken in the EIA proceedings, is explained.


The third article concerns the new Austrian Environmental Liability Act (EL-act). First it gives an overview over the most important concepts of EL-Directive (e.g. the polluter pays principle) and then describes the origination of the Austrian act. Austria was late with the transposition of the EL-Directive Directive of the EU; therefore an infringement procedure was launched by the Commission against Austria which was thus forced to prepare an act on EL which, according to a first assessment, fulfills the requirements of the EL-Directive.


The last article gives an overview over the new Austrian Environmental Liability Act. The Act was introduced as a result of an infringement procedure before the European Court of Justice. NGOs expect, due to the very limited application area (only certain kinds of damage done to water and soil), that only very few cases based on this act. Nevertheless the current Act is a clearly an improvement as compared to the heavily criticized draft act of 2007 (only very limited permit defense, no liability exception for new technologies, environmental complaint possible).

geändert am 15.09.2009