Dealing with human intervention in nature and landscape
If a company plans to intervene in nature and land- scape by extracting raw materials, the nature conser- vation legislation on impact regulation is dealt with at the level of the responsible approval authority. Depending on the respective type of natural resource, these are either the mining authorities of the German Federal States (in the case of free-to-mine and pri- vately-owned natural resources) or the state authori- ties in charge of the execution of the state-based excavation laws, the building and water resources management laws and the Federal Immission Control Act (in the case of so-called landowners’ natural re- sources). This procedure corresponds to the so-called “piggy-back” procedure: The impact regulation is generally examined as part of notification or approval procedures under sectoral law, i. e. without an independent administrative procedure. The nature conser- vation authority shall be involved and shall issue a nature conservation statement. Then, the competent approval authority issues the authorisation taking into account the opinion in “conformity” with the compe- tent nature conservation authority (§ 17(1) BNatSchG). The respective approval authority, which makes the decision on the legal consequences of the interven- tion, is not bound by the recommendations issued by the nature conservation authority, and may deviate from these recommendation for factual reasons.
However, the provisions of special species protection must be complied with irrespective of the impact reg- ulation. Designations of protected areas must also be observed.
As part of the approval procedure, the entrepreneur shall also provide the competent authority with a Landscape Management Plan (LBP), which shall provide information on the location, nature, extent and timing of the intervention, as well as the intended avoidance and compensatory measures and, where required, the amount of the compensatory payment. In this case, the major part of the necessary compen- sation is to be regularly provided for renaturation or recultivation (see target definition in § 1(5) p. 4 BNatSchG). Compensation measures on external sites are necessary, for example, if certain landscape or bio- tope structures cannot be completely restored, if the time interval between impairment and renaturation is too long, or if special measures are necessary to pro- tect certain species.
|Federal State||Publicly available||Centralfor theFederal State||Comprehensive information on the intervention area and the compensation type||Potential compensatory payments recorded||Weblink|
|Bremen||Yes||Yes||Yes||https://www.bauumwelt.bremen.de/umwelt/natur/gis_dienste___geodaten-48536||Liste der Ersatzzahlungen kann bei der Senatorin für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Mobilität, Stadtentwicklung und Wohnungsbau angefordert werden.|
|Lower Saxony||Teilweise||No||Teilweise (s. Bsp. Landkreis Cuxhaven)||https://cuxland-gis.landkreis-cuxhaven.de/internet/kompensationsflaechen||browserbased mapservice e.g|
|Rheinland-Pfalz||Yes||Yes||Yes||http://www.naturschutz.rlp.de/?q=kartendienst||Liste von Ersatzgeldzahlungen kann bei der Stiftung Natur und Umwelt angefordert werden.|
|Sachsen||No||Yes||No||https://www.umwelt.sachsen.de/umwelt/natur/15205||Listen der Ersatzzahlungen können auf Ebene der Kreisverwaltungsbehörden angefordert werden.|
|Sachsen-Anhalt||Teilweise (Ökokonten: Ja, Kompensationsverzeichnis: Nein)||Yes||No||http://ekis.geolock.de/||Ersatzzahlungen sind nicht öffentlich einsehbar.|
Source: own presentation, as of: May 2017
- description of the approval authority and the compensatory measure (short description),
- file number and date of the approval certificate,
- type of project causing the intervention,
- project developer,
- location of the compensation area,
- measures for the timely implementation of the compensatory measure and the fixed period of maintenance,
- state of the implementation.
The following information on eco-account measures can also be accessed:
- complex of measures,
- natural area,
- location of the measure,
The recipient of the compensatory payment is the district or the city in which the intervention is carried out; the compensatory payment is to be used for nature conservation and landscape management measures (Article 31 (4) LNatSchG NRW). If the compensatory payment is to be paid for an intervention in forested areas or to be used for the afforestation of land, the payment will be made available to the forestry administration for a specific purpose (§ 31(4) LNatschG NRW).
Examples of the assessments of compensatory pay- ments are the open-cast gravel mines in the open-cast mining zones in the run-up to the lignite mining projects. In three of the open-cast mines, an ecologically-valuable rehabilitation under nature conservation law was not indicated because open-cast lignite mining would use the area directly after the gravel or sand extraction operations. For these cases, the local sub- authority for landscapes developed a simplified proce- dure designed to assess an appropriate amount to be paid as compensatory payment. A total of €265,767.90 in compensatory payments was assessed for the three projects mentioned above.
Since each extraction of natural resources represents a significant intervention in nature and landscape, an environmentally-friendly extraction development and technology approach must be standard for companies in this sector. Timely renaturation and recultivation can contribute to the promotion of biological diversity; but operating extraction sites are also habitats for rare animals and plants. Cooperation between the extractive companies, the employees there and nature conservationists who are familiar with the area has proven to be useful. This means that operational management can be adapted to local and specific biodiversity requirements. This usually succeeds if the company management and employees are continually involved in dialogue with specialist nature conservation institutions and persons. In the case of expansions or new extraction projects, an early dialogue between the stakeholders can also avoid conflicts before they arise. Information and training materials on the subject help to broaden the impact of initia- tives like this, which are supported by environmental and nature conservation associations with strong membership, the mining, chemicals, energy and construction-agri-environment industrial trade unions, and economic associations at federal and state level.
The amount of provisions to be created is based on the amount necessary to meet the financial obliga- tions according to reasonable commercial judgement. Future cost increases must be taken into account when making this assessment. The expected dates of fulfilment are essentially dependent on the remaining economic useful life of the extraction sites in ques- tion. The obligations of some companies extend far beyond the year 2050. Long-term provisions with a residual term of more than one year are discounted at an interest rate determined by the Deutsche Bundesbank under a statutory order and published monthly.
Implementation securities are expressly provided for under the Federal Mining Act (BBergG) as an official instrument for natural resources extraction projects which are subject to the BBergG. Individual Federal States have introduced similar legislation in their ex- cavation laws (or other subordinate excavation regulations) for the extraction of natural resources which is outside the legal scope of the BBergG. Implemen- tation securities can also be established to ensure the implementation of compensatory and substitution measures for interventions in nature and landscape, pursuant to § 17(5) of the Federal Nature Conserva- tion Act (BNatSchG).