Austria’s Federal State Burgenland accelerates its energy transition 

The Austrian Federal State Burgenland took legislative steps to promote the energy transition by passing a law to accelerate the use of renewable energy sources (Bgld. EbBG 2022). The omission of the zoning procedure by the municipality in favour of prior regional spatial planning is an important step to alleviate the burden on environmental assessment procedures and municipalities. However, the established priority of energy transition as a public interest and the increase in using private experts instead of official experts are not considered effective measures of alleviation. 

Strengthened participation rights for environmental organisations 

The Supreme Administrative Court of Austria (VwGH) made clear that environmental organisations may claim compliance with environmental protection requirements under EU law irrespective of the violation of their subjective rights. This is not limited to the objectives of Art. 11 of Directive 2011/21/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. Therefore, national legislation, implementing EU legislation in the field of the environment, as well as directly applicable provisions of EU environmental law can be invoked by environmental organisations.