Federal Cabinet Passes Ordinance on Compensation for Interventions in Nature and Landscape

The German Federal Cabinet has agreed on an Ordinance on Compensation for Interventions in Nature and Landscape (BKompV) that sets nationwide applicable standards regarding the compensation for interventions in nature and landscape in the sense of Section 14 para. 1 Federal Act for the Protection of Nature (BNatSchG). The BKompV will affect among others new wind farm and grid projects, as they can affect both nature and landscape, and this triggers compensation measures and compensation payments.

The BKompV contains provisions on the scope, type and content of compensatory and alternative measures, the amounts payable as alternative payment (Ersatzzahlung) if appropriate compensation or alternative measures do not exist, as well as procedural provisions on the application (cf. Section 1 BKompV).  The issue was previously governed by state law, with widely varying prodecures, amounts and results.

Interventions in nature shall avoided wherever possible. If this is not possible its will be assessed. If a biotope or other goods protected, including animals, plants, soil, water, air and climate, are considerably affected, compensation payment obligation can be triggered. The amount will be established in the so-called biotope value procedure (Biotopwertverfahren). An additional compensation has to be paid if species in danger of extinction or nature or bird preserves are affected.

An alternative payment (Ersatzzahlung) will be payable for the construction of towers and masts higher than 20 metres. The exact amount depends on the height and the location. Different categories apply. For the construction of wind power plants or transmission towers on ordinary agricultural land alternative payment according to the lowest category has to be made, whereas installations in areas of European significance fall into the highest category.

The new BKompV is likely to facilitate and streamline the process of determining the right amount for compensation payments for important Energiewende projects, including in particular predictability of compensation payment requests from nature protection authorities.

Source: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

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