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Land Use Planning Berlin

Explanatory comments on the Land Use Plan and the involvement of the public: Environmental impact assessment (legal basis, methodology)

(The updated version of July 2017 is currently available only in German)

According to German planning legislation (Baugesetzbuch - BauGB), modifications to the Land Use Plan have to be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment, unless a "simplified modification procedure" is legally adopted.

The following explanations constitute a part of all environmental impact assessments of current modifications to the Land Use Plan:

In the report on the environmental impact assessment required by planning legislation (§ 2a BauGB and appendix 1 thereto), the likely impacts of proposed modifications to the Land Use Plan on the environment have to be identified and evaluated. As a part of the written statement, the report has to be made available for public comment at the same time as the proposed modification to the Land Use Plan.

The planning authority decides on the scope and on the degree of detail needed for the environmental audit to be undertaken (§ 2(4) BauGB). The environmental impact assessment has to be based on readily available current knowledge and generally accepted research standards; its scope will be limited to what is reasonable in relation to the contents of the proposed modification and the generalising nature of the Land Use Plan.

As part of the planning process for modifications to the Land Use Plan, the environmental impact assessment uses selected indicators adapted to this particular level of planning. The main basis for ecological information relevant to land use planning is the Berlin Landscape Programme. Additional information is taken from the Berlin Environmental Atlas, from the Noise Abatement Action Plan, from the Soil Pollution Register, and from other existing sources and environmental material. In special cases, additional research will have to be consulted or specifically undertaken.

Apart from the assessment of significant impacts of proposed modifications to the Land Use Plan on the environment, the environmental audit also includes an investigation of planning alternatives, taking into account the planning objectives and the scale of the Land Use Plan. In addition, the environmental impact assessment will investigate strategies to avoid, to reduce, or to compensate adverse impacts on the environment, and specify how these impacts are to be monitored once the plan becomes operational.

In the light of comments received from the general public and from public and statutory bodies on likely environmental impacts, the preliminary results of the environmental impact assessment are reviewed and, if necessary, adapted. This is documented in detail in a special „file on the environmental impact assessment” which is available for consultation during the public display of the environmental impact assessment by the urban development department. The relevant comments received are also available for public inspection during this second phase of public participation on draft amendments to the Land Use Plan.

The results of the environmental impact assessment are summarised in a Report on the Environment. The issues to be covered in this report are laid down by German planning legislation (BauGB, § 2(4) and appendix 1):
  1. Legal basis and objectives of the environmental impact assessment

  2. Contents of and reasons for the proposed modifications to the Land Use Plan

  3. Environmental objectives for the areas concerned, as laid down in the relevant legislation and in environmental planning documents.

  4. Description of the present state of the environment.

  5. Prediction of any changes of the state of the environment.

  6. Measures to avoid, to reduce or to compensate any deterioration of the state of the environment.

  7. Evaluation of planning alternatives.

  8. Techniques used for the environmental impact assessment.

  9. Monitoring requirements.

A brief and easily comprehensible summary of the environmental impact assessment, as required by planning legislation, may be dispensed with if this assessment is in itself concise and easy to understand, even for non-experts.

Any comments on the environmental impact assessment received during the second stage of public participation are considered in a final statement weighing up the arguments for and against the planning proposal, which is submitted to the Senate and to the City Council before their decision.

Having come into effect, modifications to the Land Use Plan have to be accompanied by a short statement on how environmental issues and how the comments received from the general public and from public and statutory bodies were considered, and stating the reasons, why the adopted modification has been preferred to other valid planning alternatives (§ 6(5) BauGB).