The environmental assessments required by law are an important part of environmental protection. They are intended to ensure that authorities and the public are involved and that the possible consequences of a plan or a project for the environment are identified at an early stage and taken into account when deciding on the plan or project. Two different instruments are used in environmental assessment: the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) identifies, describes and evaluates the environmental impacts of regional planning and sectoral plans as well as planning alternatives.
For the BSH, it is an important element in drawing up and amending Maritime Spatial Plans and Site Development Plans. It is also used in the suitability examination carried out on behalf of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) for sites for the use of offshore wind energy.
Environmental concerns are thus taken into account at an early stage in planning decisions. The main focus is on the protected assets of soil, benthos, fish, birds, marine mammals and, in the Baltic Sea, bats. The interaction of the protected areas with each other and with each other in the accumulation is also taken into account. Bird migration is also considered. The results of the SEA are described in detail in the respective environmental reports.
The basis for this is the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVPG).
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
The environmental impact assessment is mandatory for the planning approval of wind turbines in the EEZ. The company that has been awarded the contract carries out EIA investigations, mainly for the above-mentioned protected areas and for bird migration.
The EIA identifies, describes and assesses the significant impacts of a project or project. The party responsible for the procedure draws up a detailed EIA report based on the StUK and submits it together with the planning documents to the BSH, which carefully examines them.
This is based on the Wind Energy at Sea Act (WindSeeG) and the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVPG).
Nature conservation assessments
The BSH's approval procedures require additional assessments for protected area, species and biotopes.
In addition, rules of intervention under conservation law applies in the EEZ. This serves to enforce nature conservation interests both inside and outside protected areas. Negative consequences of interventions in nature and landscape are thus to be avoided and minimized, or unavoidable interventions are to be compensated for by nature conservation measures. For this purpose, statements are obtained from the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) as the competent nature conservation authority for the EEZ.
The basis for this is the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG).