English Summary of NEWSFLASH 2021 - July

Road development project in Austria to be subject to an EIA

The Austrian Federal Administrative Court ruled in a recent decision that the extension und upgrading of the motorway A 22 near Stockerau has to be subjected to an environmental impact assessment. The Federal Administrative Court build its ruling upon case-law of the CJEU, in which the CJEU had decided that because of its scale and manner a road development project may be equivalent to a road construction project under the EIA Directive and thus needs to be subject to an assessment. In the present case, the Austrian Court considered crucial the increase in the capacity of the motorway as well as the significant land consumption – also in nature conservation areas.

Courts in Europe acting against the climate crisis

Following the legendary ruling in the URGENDA case, more and more "climate lawsuits" are now being brought before European courts. The legal and argumentative approaches vary widely and relate to both public and corporate obligations. However, they all have one thing in common: they are directed against conditions that are harmful to the climate. Courts are increasingly taking the climate crisis seriously, as evidenced by two recent decisions on the German Climate Protection Act and against a Dutch oil company. While the German Constitutional Court declared that insufficiently defined long-term climate goals interfere with the liberty rights of residents’, the Court of the Hague obliged the Royal Dutch Shell company to reduce its GHG emissions by 45 % compared to 2019 levels until 2030.