Scholz is planning a speed pact with the federal states

Berlin The Federal Chancellery is attempting to speed up planning and approval procedures with its own initiative, thereby fulfilling a central promise made by the traffic light coalition.

A “pact for planning, approval and implementation acceleration” between the federal and state governments is intended to ensure “a nationwide effort”, as can be seen from a corresponding proposal. The 13-page paper is available to the Handelsblatt and has already been largely coordinated with the federal states.

In order to modernize the industry, the energy market and the infrastructure, not only investments worth billions are required, but also a large number of planning and approval processes.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had announced: “We will speed up the times for administration, planning and approval processes, at least halve them.” So far, however, the government has only managed to allow emergency approvals for floating liquid gas terminals on the North Sea and Baltic Sea. These should be set up by the end of the year.

The federal and state governments are “striving for close cooperation”

The federal and state governments are “striving for close cooperation,” the paper says. The federal government obviously wants to standardize more tasks in the federal system. “The use of the relevant standards for the process steps and procedures is specified nationwide and is binding,” it says, for example.

The federal government is also willing to co-finance the federal states’ staff so that they can hire more clerks. It is “critical to success” to have sufficient specialists in the approval authorities.

There is talk of creating a “personnel pool” that the federal, state and local governments can access. This could be located at the in-house consulting company “Partnerships Germany”. However, there are constitutional concerns.

The federal and state governments should do everything possible to provide appropriate personnel “both in the short term from 2023 and in the long term”. For this purpose, the service and salary law is to be changed so that specialists, for example, are not only interested in the private sector, but also in a career in public authorities.

The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development is planned as a counseling center, knowledge pool and nationwide network in order to promote and further develop the staff and to share knowledge among the federal states.

Approve digitally instead of analog

Digital processes could help to compensate for the lack of staff. However, there are still a number of deficits in the offices, for which a “cultural change in the administrations” is being called for. Nevertheless, “the entire process should be optimized and digitized end to end and process control included”.

This applies, for example, to the information and participation of citizens in planning and approval procedures. The individual process steps are to be “modularized” and “digitized”. To this end, various digitization projects that the federal states are implementing as part of the Online Access Act are to be used.

Interfaces are also to be created for the digital tool for planning and building (BIM). “Open-BIM should be the nationwide standard,” it says. In principle, digital processes should become “the rule”, “other simple access and participation options will remain in place,” it says, however, to clarify.

>> Read here: Delayed digitization: “Too many only saw the computer as a tool”

The federal and state governments should also make better use of data in the future. For example, one goal is to transfer all environmental data collected in projects to a register. In addition, there should be nationwide “data rooms”.

In order to optimize the approval process, the draft urges those affected to be involved “at an early stage”, as has been possible in administrative procedure law since 2014.

In view of the complexity of the procedures, those involved would have to be trained or have the opportunity to involve external third parties. In return and as an incentive, the fees incurred by the authorities are to be reduced.

Less legal protection for environmental organizations

In the case of immissions law issues that affect the consequences for the environment, the federal states should refrain from objection procedures – if the environmental impacts of the planned plants are “systematic and calculable”. This applies, for example, to wind turbines, which could possibly be approved more quickly via the building code.

The federal government also wants to examine the extent to which exceptions to legal protection for environmental organizations are possible in order to leave room for “pragmatic solutions”, for example in the environmental impact assessment.

There could also be “de minimis limits” where the obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment does not apply. One example given is connecting offshore wind farms to the power grid.

The federal and state governments are also to change the building code and, for example, approve preparatory land use plans within a month in the future. The discussion is about no longer approving land use plans or even using areas differently than provided for in the development plan – without having to make costly changes to the plan.

In principle, it should be possible to be able to draw up development plans in a simplified and faster manner “in order to enable the rapid creation of building rights in the settlement area,” as the paper says. It should also be easier for network operators to use traffic routes for broadband expansion.

In addition, the federal government wants to adopt more important major projects by law (legal planning), as was the case after reunification, which means that administrative procedures are superfluous. It should also be easier to implement replacement new buildings without planning approval procedures, even if they are larger than before. Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) wants to submit corresponding proposals.

Predecessor Andreas Scheuer (CSU) implemented four laws in the last electoral period to speed up procedures. This is still considered a mammoth task. And the draft for the federal-state pact also attests that it “remains a common central design task”.

More: How the 49-euro ticket turns public transport upside down

source site-12