This draft Environmental Code is intended to bring together, unify, harmonise, develop and update German environmental law. The codification project takes up a transnational legal trend that has already led to the passing of similar legislation in a number of countries such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom or the preparation of corresponding drafts, as in France, Sweden, Poland and Hungary. The European Union is also looking into the codification of environmental law.
The Commission's draft applies the principle of sustainable environmentally sound development and establishes an integrated cross-media approach in all areas of environmental legislation. One of its principal features is the unified project authorisation model (Vorhabengenehmigung) for environmental legislation, which the Federal Government intends to use as a basis for the planned implementation of the IPPC Directive in a first volume of an Environmental Code. Other aims pursued by the Commiss
ion were to strengthen the responsibility of enterprises and of society, develop incentive instruments and expand transboundary environmental protection.
The draft was prepared between autumn 1992 and summer 1997. The Commission consisted of eight experts with practical experience in the field of environmental law as judges, university teaching staff, lawyers, administrative officials and an environmental officer in a large industrial company.
This volume contains the English translation of the draft. It seeks to make a contribution to international and European discussions about the harmonisation and codification of environmental law. For this reason the introduction to the English version also contains observations about the German legal system and existing environmental legislation which should make it easier for the reader to understand the proposals.