As part of the Water Act Amendment 2013 changes to the water management frameworks will be introduced. From now on, persons whose aim does not relate solely to water protection have also the possibility to draft the frameworks in question. This, particularly, enables energy supply companies to submit water polluting hydropower projects under the guise of water protection. Unfortunately, the amendment of the WRG was not taken as the occasion to introduce the long overdue party status and right of appeal of NGOs, as required by the Aarhus Convention.
In a recent decision, the ECJ had to deal with the question of how a national court should approach the question of awards of costs against a member of the public, who is an unsuccessful claimant in an environmental procedure. According to Article 9 (4) of the Aarhus Convention judicial proceedings in environmental matters should not be ‘prohibitively expensive’. In order to ensure that the public plays an active role in defending the environment, the assessment cannot be based solely on an objective analysis of the amount of the costs. It may also take into account the financial situation of the person concerned, whether the claimant has a reasonable prospect of success, the existence of a national legal aid scheme as well as the importance for the protection of the environment.
geändert am 02.05.2013