Austrian EIA report shows steady durations for procedures
With the recently published EIA report, the Austrian Ministry for Climate Protection released statistics on EIA procedures. The report shows the average duration for EIAs with about 7,2 months from the point of completion of all necessary documents until the decision of the public authority. Starting from the earlier application, the duration is about 15,2 months. This shows that the main driver of time consumption in EIAs is an incomplete documentation, not however, as often reported, public participation. Environmental NGOs presented ideas on how to further improve EIA procedures: lowering of the thresholds for projects to undergo an EIA, more resources for public authorities and improved checks for climate protection and land consumption.
Fierce discussions on taxonomy regulations of the EU
The taxonomy sets uniform criteria to classify green economic activities. In a recently published draft delegated act to this regulation, the EU Commission states that natural gas and nuclear energy should also be covered by the sustainability criteria. A legal opinion commissioned by the Austrian Ministry for Climate Action (BMK) shows that the inclusion of nuclear energy is not compatible with the Taxonomy Regulation. The Regulation does not list this type of energy production among the activities that make a significant contribution to climate protection and there are far-reaching environmental risks. The EU Platform for Sustainable Finance comes to a similar conclusion regarding nuclear energy. Moreover, according to the platform, including natural gas contradicts the EU-wide targets for greenhouse gas reduction, climate neutrality and the 1.5°C target. Criticism of the Commission's delegated act also concerns the lack of impact assessment and insufficient public consultation. The delegated act is expected to be adopted by the Council and the EU Parliament by the summer. Certain countries are considering legal remedies against the act if it is adopted.