German Permitting Process

The new high-pressure natural gas pipeline will cross both Germany’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and its territorial waters (12 nm zone). This requires different permitting procedures which fall under the responsibility of different permitting authorities.

For the German EEZ, a permit according to the Federal Mining Law (Bundesberggesetz – BBergG) is required in order to regulate the use and exploitation of waters on the country’s continental shelf. The responsible authority for carrying out the permitting procedure and issuing the permit is the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH). According to the BBergG, the permitting process includes an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project as well as an assessment of its compatibility with any other nature conservation issues (Natura 2000 nature protection areas, species conservation, environmental compensation measures etc.). A prerequisite for this permit is the approval of the project’s mining activities according to the BBergG, issued by the Stralsund Mining Authority.

Whilst no prior regional planning procedures are required in the German EEZ, the principles and objectives outlined in the Regulation on Spatial Planning in the German EEZ in the Baltic Sea are to be observed.

No prior regional planning procedures are required in the German EEZ, as the territorial compatibility is assessed during the permitting process. There are no identifiable conflicts with the principles and objectives outlined in the Regulation on Spatial Planning in the German EEZ in the Baltic Sea. The Regulation’s requirements are taken into account in the permitting process.

In the German 12 nm zone, a plan approval procedure for gas supply pipelines with a diameter greater than 300 millimeters is prescribed by the German Energy Industry Law (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz – EnWG). The responsible authority for carrying out the permitting procedure and issuing the permit is the Stralsund Mining Authority.

This permitting process includes an EIA as well as an assessment of the project’s compatibility with any other nature conservation issues (Natura 2000 nature protection areas, species conservation, environmental compensation measures etc.). Furthermore, as set out in the Regulation on High-Pressure Natural Gas Pipelines, the Stralsund Mining Authority is also responsible for the technical examination and acceptance of the project.

No prior regional planning procedures are required in the German 12 nm zone, since the planned pipeline route largely falls within the route corridor identified in the Regional Spatial Development Programme of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (LREP M-V): this will also entail a territorial compatibility assessment.

In parallel to the German permitting process, the two responsible German permitting authorities will also carry out the EIA process in a transboundary context according to the UNECE convention (“Espoo convention”).

Current status of the permitting process

8 April 2013 Publishing of Project Information Document (PID) and Scoping Document

Formal start of procedure in Germany – Documents sent to relevant interest parties
April/May 2013 Public consultation
26 June 2013 Scoping meeting in Stralsund
5 May 2014

Confirmation of planned scope of environmental surveys and  environmental impact studies

18 April 2017

Publication of application documents and Espoo report
Start of public consultation in Germany

April/May 2017

Documents available for public consultation

July 2017

Public hearing