Frankfurt – With a nine-point paper, the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) proposes a way for politicians and authorities to speed up approval procedures for industrial plants. The legal opinion was provided by Dr Stefan Altenschmidt and Pauline Müller of Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.
The nine-point paper is based on a study commissioned by the VCI from the Institute of the German Economy (IW) and Luther's expert opinion on the further development of public participation. The legal opinion and the study conclude that planning and approval procedures must be made more efficient and shortened – and therefore above all digitalised – even with public participation.
"We cannot make tomorrow climate-neutral with yesterday's approval procedures. What applies to wind turbines, power lines and solar parks must apply to all downstream value chains and therefore also to all industrial plants. To this end, we urgently need an acceleration law for planning and approval procedures this year," explains VCI Managing Director Wolfgang Große Entrup.
Dr Stefan Altenschmidt, partner at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft and co-author of the expert report, supports the digitalisation of public participation and adds: "In order to reconcile the interests in the protection of secrets and in a stronger digitalisation of public participation, the in-camera procedure established in the state protection of secrets could be used. In this procedure, three judges bound to secrecy examine the justification of the asserted protection of secrets. In combination with a short decision period of two months, all interests concerned could be satisfied.
Altenschmidt also pleads for the abolition of the hearing, which is not required by European law and which in practice regularly does not bring any new insights. After all, the legal instruments for the earliest possible and most intensive public participation already exist under the Administrative Procedure Act.
VCI, IW and Luther presented their proposals at a press conference in Frankfurt today.
VCI represents the economic policy interests of more than 1,700 German chemical and pharmaceutical companies as well as German subsidiaries of foreign corporations vis-à-vis politicians, authorities, other sectors of the economy, the scientific community and the media. In 2021, the industry had a turnover of around EUR 220 billion and employed over 466,000 people.
On behalf of VCI: