6 July 2023
Update of the Insight (July 6th 2023)
In the 2021 coalition agreement, the Federal Government decided to speed up planning and approval procedures for construction. On 14 December 2022, the Federal Cabinet adopted a draft law to strengthen digitisation in the urban land use planning procedure. On 15 June 2023, the Bundestag has now approved the Amendment Act for Digitisation in Urban Land Use Planning and for the Amendment of Other Regulations.
This project is intended to strengthen the economic development of the country. According to the amendment bill, above all, participation in the context of urban land use planning procedures is to be carried out digitally, the deadlines for approving certain urban land use plans are to be shortened and further legal facilitations for the expansion of renewable energies are to be introduced.
Digital planning procedure – Up to now, draft plans have to be laid out in paper form and then inspected on site at the responsible office (Sec. 3 para. 2 German Building Code (BauGB)). However, as a result of the law, the public in particular is to be given digital access to the documents of a zoning panel procedure in the future. This is intended to remove considerable hurdles by allowing documents to be inspected from home and also to comment on the zoning plan digitally.
No (purely) formal repetitions – If zoning plans are amended in the procedure, they must regularly be laid out in full a second time at the competent building authority – and the authorities involved and the public could again comment on the entire zoning plan (Sec. 4a para. 3 S. 2 BauGB). The competent authority could make exceptions to this and only lay out the amended sections of the zoning plan. However, the normal case was the complete repetition of parts of the procedure. For a more efficient procedure, this repetition is to be abolished and only the amended planning section must be laid out.
Shorter approval periods – Currently, the competent supervisory authority has to decide on the approval of a land use plan within three months (Sec. 6 para. 4 BauGB). These three months are to be shortened to only one month. Here, too, the explicit aim is to accelerate the procedure.
Facilitated expansion of renewable energies – The Amendment Act now allows exemptions from zoning plans in favour of solar and wind energy plants (as a so-called general interest within the meaning of Sec. 31 para. 2 no. 1 BauGB). In addition, the construction and commissioning of installations for the generation of electricity from solar radiation energy and wind energy as ancillary installations is facilitated, especially in commercial, industrial and other special areas.
The amendments to the law presented will come into force on the day after their announcement – this is still pending.
Do you have any questions about speeding up your approval procedures and/or building or environmental law, etc.? We look forward to hearing from you.