Supreme Administrative Court clarifies access to justice rights in forest proceedings
Austrian laws intending to implement the Aarhus Convention have been successively enacted in the past two years in the areas of waste management, air, water, nature conservation, hunting and fishing. In its judgment from December 20, 2019, the Supreme Administrative Court (VwGH) now determines that environmental organisations must be granted party rights in proceedings under the Forest Act (ForstG) whenever an appropriate assessment is examined. In addition, the Court reaffirms the obligation of the national authorities and courts to apply Union law which is directly applicable – such as the Art 6/3 Habitats Directive – by granting primacy of application.
Heathrow is denied its third runway due to climate change concerns
In February, the Court of Appeals for England and Wales cancelled the permission for the airport extension of Heathrow. In doing so, the court ruled that the government failed to take into account the climate implications of such a project regarding the UK’s commitments under the Paris agreement. The court also said that an airport extension itself is not unlawful as such but requires the climate impacts to be taken into account by the government, which has not happened in this case. The government already announced it will not seek another ruling by challenging the decision, which further weakens the chances of the third runway being built. The airport itself, however, did announce an appeal against the judgment.