Supreme Administrative Court broadens access to justice in Sulm case
In an important decision on the hydropower plant “Schwarze Sulm”, the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court followed a complaint by J&E member ÖKOBÜRO and the WWF and ruled to broaden access to justice for environmental NGOs. The decision now opens cases in which project alterations were made to a review with the regional administrative courts after a complaint by the NGOs. This right was not yet given to them in the current Water Protection Act and follows the rulings on the Aarhus convention by the ECJ a few years prior. The case “Schwarze Sulm” will now continue its review with the regional administrative court.
Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention results in ambivalent outcomes
In October 2021, the Parties to the Aarhus Convention met for the seventh time to discuss the implementation of the Convention. It resulted in a Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development. Important steps were also taken by a rapid response mechanism for the protection of prosecuted environmental activists. By not endorsing the findings of the Compliance Committee (ACCC) on access to justice against state aid decisions, the EU fostered a special procedure, which postponed the implementation for a certain time. A lack of compliance with the Convention was also identified for several other Parties, including Austria.