Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) represents an integral part of procedures applied by authorities when deciding upon the admissibility of projects. EIA covers the identification, description, and evaluation of the environmental impacts that ensue from the implementation of planning on: human beings, animals and plants, soil, water, air, climate, and landscape, including interactions between these protected assets and cultural heritage and other material assets Environmental impact assessment is conducted with public participation.

EIA is governed by the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, which derives from the EU Directive 85/337/EEC. An annex to the act lists all of the projects and activities are subject to EIA. EIA is thus primarily and important tool in preventive environmental protection. It helps to prevent, reduce or mitigate the adverse environmental effects associated with a project by subjecting the proposal to systematic, prior scrutiny according to a set of defined minimum procedural and material standards.
EIA is concerned with both whether a proposed project should be allowed to proceed, and with the manner in which it is to be implemented. By requiring co-operation between developers, public authorities and the general public, EIA also puts into practice the principle of cooperative planning. As a precautionary tool, EIA is characterised by the integrative approach it adopts and by the principle of early appraisal. In addition to environmental impact assessment for evaluating projects, German planning law (also pursuant to an EU directive) provides for so-called strategic environmental assessment, which is prescribed for all spatial structure plans, preparatory land-use plans and binding land-use plans.

Environmental Information Act

The new Environmental Information Act of the Federal, established on 14th February 2005, guarantees the freedom to transition to the existing authorities in the federal information on the global order and its dissemination. It sets out the basic conditions under which such information should be made available. The information afforded by the law is right - regardless of the existence of a legal-political interest - to anyone and is independently enforceable. For the authorities of the countries subject to the respective national environmental information law. These regulations set the environmental information directive of the European Parliament and the Council of 28 January 2003 (Directive 2003/4/EC) around.

Equivalent living conditions

The establishment of equivalent living conditions is a prime guideline of federal and state government in the balanced development of their respective territories, and is entrenched as such in Section 1 (2) of the Federal Spatial Planning Act. The aim is to create and maintain standards of living throughout the country which, in keeping with the local context, are equivalent in value. Equivalent does not mean identical, which is neither practicable nor reasonable. Living conditions involve all spheres of life and hence all infrastructure and economic development. In effect, the policy of equivalent living conditions primarily benefits rural areas, since there is usually a greater backlog of structural development in the country than in urban areas. Basically, however, problematic structures can require action to ensure equivalent living conditions in urban agglomerations, too. The discussion on upholding the principle at a time when public resources are limited is one of the chief current issues in spatial planning. The alternative under debate is to concentrate support in growth cores whose dynamics spread to peripheral regions, thus benefiting them indirectly.

Evaluation, audit

Evaluation is generally seen as a matter of auditing plans, programmes, measures and tools with regard to specific criteria, such as content, procedures, outcomes, and costs. The principle focus is usually on determining whether (or to what degree) targets have been met (target performance comparisons, assessing the potential for and direction of further development) and on examining cause/effect relationships (effect chains, case studies, time series, etc.). In both the theory and practice of planning, the prime interest is in assessing the effectiveness of plans, programmes and procedures and in the efficiency of planning measures.