Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) is intended to bring major projects - e.g. motorways, power stations or ski resorts - into line with the environment as far as possible. For this purpose, the EIA authority can prescribe plan changes and compensation measures. In rare cases, it also prohibits the implementation of the project. Affected parties, citizens' initiatives and recognised environmental protection organisations may participate in EIA procedures in order to protect their interests or those of the environment.

EIA: Environmental assessment for large-scale projects

It is particularly important to protect the environment from negative influences in large economic projects. With the help of the environmental impact assessment (EIA), such large-scale projects - e.g. a motorway, a power plant or a ski resort - are to be brought into line with the environment as far as possible. The EIA authority can prescribe plan changes and compensation measures. In rare cases, it also prohibits the implementation of the project.

Affected parties, citizens' initiatives and recognised environmental protection organisations may participate in EIA procedures in order to protect their interests or those of the environment. This involvement of the public enables the EIA authority to take all different interests into account.

The rules applicable to an EIA procedure are laid down in the Austrian Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVP-G). A large part of its content is stipulated in the EIA-Directive of the European Union (EIA-Directive). Until today, the UVP-G is the central Act to decrease environmental impacts of large-scale projects. It grants persons directly affected by major projects, citizen’s initiatives and environmental protection organisations party status. This means they have access to project information as well as participatory rights in EIA permitting procedures and are thus entitled to point out environmental threats and suggestions for improvement.

Use and improve EIA for a higher level of environmental protection

Since 1993, ÖKOBÜRO has been working on and with EIA. We use this decade-long experience to foster improvements of the UVP-G and prevent planned deteriorations. We point out existing weaknesses of the Act and try to eliminate them. For this purpose, we interact with relevant stakeholders and pressure groups, publish statements regarding planned amendments of the UVP-G and organise events such as workshops or discussions.

As member of the European environmental law network Justice and Environment (J&E), ÖKOBÜRO also works on the EIA topic. We compare EIA systems of different European member states and engage in the European legislative process on EIA, for example through official statements or complaints.

Furthermore, ÖKOBÜRO themselves participate in EIA procedures. As recognised Austrian environmental protection organisation, we are granted party status and take use of this in strategically important environmental procedures.