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German environmental associations obtain greater rights of action

With the coming into force on 15 December 2006 of Germany's environmental legal remedy legislation environmental associations have been given greater rights of action in the area of environmental protection.
Germany has thus implemented EU legislation in place since 2003. It means that all associations whose aim is to protect the environment can ask the courts to verify resolutions adopted by the authorities even if they themselves are not directly affected by a particular measure. In the past only nature conservation associations were entitled to do so in the event of specific infringements of the nature preservation legislation. As a requirement the associations must be recognised by Germany's Federal Environment Agency (UBA). For this reason the UBA recommends that even those associations that are already recognised under nature preservation legislation apply to the UBA for recognition under environmental legal remedy legislation too. The new legislation has come under criticism from, among others, the Independent Institute for Environmental Concerns (UfU), which does not believe that the legislation's objectives has in any way strengthened the representative function of the environmental associations on behalf of the general public.
Source and information: www.ngo-online.de/ganze_nachricht, www.ufu.de/neues-aus-u---b (de)
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