Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) identify, describe, and evaluate the direct and indirect effects and consequences that a project or plan may have:
- on humans, animals, plants, and their habitats
- on soil, water, air, and climate,
- on the landscape
- on material and cultural assets
Assessments are made on a technical basis and with public participation, taking the interactions of several of these effects and consequences with each other into account.
The legal basis is provided by the Austrian Federal Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (Environmental Impact Assessment Law 2000; Federal Law Gazette No. 89/2000).
EIA – Assessment Procedure
In the framework of the assessment procedure, a project is reviewed to determine whether an EIA Approval Procedure should be carried out. The project applicant, the participating authorities, or the Environmental Ombudsman can apply for an Assessment Procedure to be carried out. It can also be initiated ex officio.
EIA – Approval Procedure
The EIA describes and assesses the environmental effects of a project or plan. The decision on the approval of a project or plan (e.g. waste treatment systems, intensive animal husbandry, industrial plants) is made by means of an official notice. The authority applies all applicable laws in this process, which means that no separate plant approvals will be required.
EIA – Procedure with public participation according to Espoo Convention
The Espoo Convention provides for the participation of affected states and their citizens in EIA procedures carried out in other states. If an EIA of a major project is carried out in a state where it can be expected that the project would have an impact on the environment in Austria, the affected state government is obligated to make an official announcement of the project in the press and online. This is done in order to make the submission documents accessible to the public, and to collect, analyse, and structure the comments from the public. These comments are then submitted to the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management, which acts as the Austrian Espoo liaison point.