Environmental Studies

 

Depending on the nature and location of a project, specific environmental studies may be required. The same applies in principle to the creation of plans. Below you will find a brief description of different types of environmental studies that we can carry out for you and, by the way, the commonly used abbreviations (EIS, EIA, SEA, FFH, ...). Of course, we have the necessary approvals to carry out such studies.

 

Project-related environmental sustainability

For many larger scale projects, especially if the project (can) influence(s) protected areas, the execution of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prior to the licensing procedure is required by law in order to minimize the direct and indirect impact of the project to the environment and nature, and thus to decide whether the project will be approved in the planned form. For this purpose, an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) has to be carried out by the applicant respectively by the authorized verifier appointed by him, which serves the authority as the basis for the i execution of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

 

For smaller projects, it must be clarified in advance whether an Environmental Impact Assessment is required or not. This clarification is based on a request for examination of the EIA obligation, which describes the planned project and the location, presents the relevant effects of this project on the different protected goods and assesses whether they are so significant/ severe that they have to be considered in more detail in the form of an Environmental Impact Assessment, or not. This request document must also be prepared by the applicant or project holder and has to be submitted to the authority as a basis for decision-making. The result of the executed evaluation will be communicated to the applicant and published on the internet.

 

Plan-related environmental sustainability

Like projects, higher-level, regional and local respectively municipal plans must be environmentally assessed before they become effective. Under this procedure, known as the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), the organization responsible for the plan, for example in case of a land-use plan the corresponding municipality, must provide the environmental and the nature protection administration, with documentation and information enabling these authorities to assess the compatibility of the plan with nature and environment.

 

Each SEA is a process-accompanying environmental impact assessment, in which, based on the status quo, the respective planning steps are checked for their environmental risk. Consequently, the main objective of the multi-stage SEA process is to consider the different environmental aspects at an early stage and in all stages of the process and by this integrating avoidance/mitigation options as well as alternatives integrally throughout the planning process.

 

Reserve compatibility studies

If projects or plans are located near or even within protected areas of the European Natura-2000-Network - this includes Fauna-Flora-Habitat or FFH areas respectively as well as bird sanctuaries - evidence must be provided that they don’t have any significant effect regarding the protection and conservation objectives of the area concerned, respectively to the protected flora and fauna and their habitats.

 

Such protected area compatibility assessments have a multi-level structure and are subject to stringent technical and methodological requirements on the part of the EU.

If significant effects can’t be ruled out and these are not brought under the materiality threshold by means of targeted mitigation measures, the final decision on the feasibility of a project or plan-related project can only be clarified in subsequent, more intensive procedural steps.

These can even go beyond the national framework and, in exceptional cases, finally be decided on the European level.

 

Species Protection Studies

For projects and plans that are (could be) in areas relevant to conservation law, the Luxembourg Nature Conservation Act requires investigations that assess the impact of projects on protected flora, fauna and biotopes located outside designated protected areas.

 

In this case it has to be clarified as well, whether protection-relevant thresholds are safely undercut, if necessary, by means of appropriate mitigation measures and thus biodiversity is maintained before it is possible to decide on the feasibility of a project.