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E n v i r o n m e n t a l-- R e p o r t s


Environmental Reports on zoning plans and urban development schemes

The urban land-use plans (“Bauleitpläne”) should inter alia help to ensure a humane environment and to protect the natural resources. According to § 2 (4) of the German General Building Code, all the relevant environmental concerns have to be identified, described and evaluated during the planning process, in particular the expected significant environmental effects. The results of this obligatory and comprehensive environmental assessment are supposed to be summarized in an environmental report and transparently presented alongside the other planning issues and interests. The environmental report forms a separate part of the textual justification to the land-use plan.

The main contents are the synthesis of the most important aspects of the development plan with information on location, type, size and the demand for land with reference to the applicable specialist laws and plans. An inventory of the current state of the environment is the basis for establishing a prognosis on the development of the environmental status in the cases of implementation and failure of planning. Furthermore, measures should be presented as how an intervention can be avoided or reduced, or how the adverse effects can be compensated. If possible, planning alternatives within the scope of the development plan have to be proposed. The environmental report to the urban development plan (“Bebauungsplan”) is usually much more specific and contains more detailed statements than the environmental report for the land-use or zoning plan (“Flächennutzungsplan”). This is due to the German planning system, according to which the zoning plan has a preparatory character, while the urban development plan is legally binding for everyone and more concrete in its scale.