Environmental Law

Germany

Specialists in environmental law

When preparing for and carrying out complex approval and planning procedures, as well as during ongoing operation of industrial plants, power lines, mines, etc., companies are confronted with a large number of issues concerning environmental law.

The CMS environmental law specialists help companies to recognise and comply with environmental law requirements, as well as avoiding mistakes. They have the necessary expertise and commercial understanding, backed by many years of working with companies, public bodies and the courts. They are also accustomed to liaising with experts from other specialist areas, such as environmental experts, engineers and planners, project developers and local authorities.

Our environmental law advice includes the following areas:

  • Licensing and planning permission procedures
  • Environmental law advice and compliance, product-related environmental law
  • Contaminated sites
  • Project development
  • Transactions and restructurings (including environmental due diligence)
  • Dispute resolution
  • Advice around the political process

The environmental law issues dealt with include in particular:

  • Emission control legislation
  • Protection of nature and wildlife
  • Water law
  • Waste disposal law
  • Soil protection law
  • EIAs and SEAs
  • Regional development and planning law
  • Law on chemicals
  • Specific procedures under environmental law and procedural law
  • Environmental Information

Licensing and planning permission procedures

Our environmental law advice focuses on the support and management of complex licensing and planning permission procedures, as well as regional development and planning processes, including environmental impact assessments. In particular, the strict requirements under laws concerning the protection of nature and wildlife, water law and emission control legislation impose numerous constraints on projects with environmental impact.

Detailed preparation ahead of procedures that covers the planning and application documents and also public participation aspects can help to avoid procedural mistakes and conflicts, while also reducing the risk of legal challenges by environmental groups. Such challenges have become significantly more common in recent years. Careful groundwork accelerates the process and increases investment security. If necessary, we also defend projects against third party challenges and lawsuits by environmental groups.

Environmental law and compliance, product-related environmental law

EU legislators have been steadily tightening the regulations on environmental protection for many years. Environmental law compliance is thus an increasingly important aspect of corporate governance. This includes avoiding violations of the law, exceeding thresholds, leaks of hazardous materials and incidents, ensuring compliance with special registration and labelling obligations for many substances, as well as applying all relevant environmental regulations to a company’s specific processes and structures.

Our experts check whether and under what circumstances the authorities are likely to impose environmental restrictions and how they can be avoided. We establish in advance whether permits or other official approvals can be transferred from one company to another, when they must be re-applied for and what contractual options exist for agreements with the authorities or third parties.

Contaminated sites

Our advice also covers soil and water protection law, including contaminated sites. With German and European legislation having significantly extended the participation and legal rights of neighbours, municipalities and environmental groups over the past few years, violations of soil and water protection regulations are now more likely to be detected and severely punished.

We defend companies against official directives and support them in the context of remediation agreements and during negotiations with public bodies, environmental groups and other third parties.

Project development and Transactions

During project development, conflicts around use need to be resolved, a range of different interests must be taken into consideration and contamination risks have to be avoided or addressed. We advise our clients during structuring and implementation of projects with potential environmental impact, identify risks and possible solutions at an early stage and provide assistance for communication with public bodies and third parties. Our advice is provided in close conjunction with our specialists in real estate law, procurement law, public construction and planning law.

For transactions and restructurings, we carry out environmental due diligence (in particular concerning permits and contaminated sites), assess the transferability of permits and, if applicable, draw up the relevant contracts together with our M&A specialists.

Conflicts

If necessary, we also represent you in court and during arbitration proceedings in case of conflicts and also during mediation, thereby safeguarding what has already been achieved.

Public relations and public participation

Companies find themselves under increasing public scrutiny. A lack of acceptance from municipal bodies, in political circles and among affected communities often represents a major obstacle to successful business activity and, in particular, to major projects. In politically sensitive cases, we support the PR work of the project sponsor or the public sector. During this process, our excellent contacts to ministries and public agencies are particularly valuable. We provide legal opinions on proposed laws and support our clients in legislative and norm-setting proceedings.

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23 April 2021
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COP26 is sched­uled to take place from Monday 1st Novem­ber – Fri­day 12th Novem­ber 2021 in Glas­gow. It was ori­gin­ally in­ten­ded to take place last Novem­ber but was post­poned due to COV­ID-19.  It brings...
18 March 2021
The Value and In­teg­ra­tion of Biod­iversity in Busi­ness De­cision Mak­ing
The Re­view of The Eco­nom­ics of Biod­iversity by Pro­fess­or Sir Partha Dasgupta com­mis­sioned by the UK Treas­ury was pub­lished on 2 Feb­ru­ary 2021[1]. The Re­view was tasked to as­sess the eco­nom­ic be­ne­fits...
03 March 2021
Draft Amend­ment to En­ergy Act re­gard­ing the reg­u­la­tion of hy­dro­gen net­works
On 10 Feb­ru­ary 2021 the Ger­man gov­ern­ment passed the draft of an amend­ment to the En­ergy Act which con­tains new pro­vi­sions for the reg­u­la­tion of hy­dro­gen net­works. The pur­pose of the amend­ment to the...
01 March 2021
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Since 1 March 2020 all mar­ine ves­sels have been sub­ject to a ban from car­ry­ing on board high sul­phur mar­ine fuel oil (“HSFO”) with sul­phur con­tent great­er than 0.50% un­less they have a ‘scrub­ber’...
09 February 2021
BAT con­clu­sions for large com­bus­tion plants an­nulled – What next?
On 27 Janu­ary 2021 the Gen­er­al Court of the European Uni­on de­clared the so-called BAT con­clu­sions for large com­bus­tion plants an­nulled. It is worth con­sid­er­ing what this rul­ing really means and what it...
03/11/2020
CMS and Fe­mern A/S win case be­fore Fed­er­al Ad­min­is­trat­ive Court: Green...
On 3 Novem­ber 2020, the Fed­er­al Ad­min­is­trat­ive Court dis­missed the law­suits brought against the plan­ning ap­prov­al for con­struc­tion of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. In one of the biggest en­vir­on­ment­al cases...
27 August 2020
Tail­ings Man­age­ment and New Stand­ards of Reg­u­la­tion
Tail­ings dam fail­ures have put the min­ing in­dustry in the head­lines for the wrong reas­ons in re­cent years. Dam fail­ures can have dis­astrous con­sequences in terms of loss of life and en­vir­on­ment­al dam­age...
02 July 2020
ICAO agrees to ad­just COR­SIA baseline for CO2 emis­sions for avi­ation in...
On 30 June 2020, the Coun­cil of the In­ter­na­tion­al Civil Avi­ation Or­gan­iz­a­tion (ICAO) ad­op­ted a de­cision ad­just­ing the peri­od to be used as the baseline for meas­ur­ing the growth of CO2 emis­sions un­der...
11 June 2020
EU ad­justs COR­SIA baseline for CO2 emis­sions for avi­ation to 2019 only...
On 9th June 2020 the Coun­cil of the EU (the “Coun­cil”)ad­op­ted a de­cision to amend its po­s­i­tion on the peri­od to be used as the baseline for meas­ur­ing the growth of CO2 emis­sions un­der the Car­bon Off­set­ting...
07 May 2020
GRESB 2020 – It’s Ques­tion Time!
GRESB has launched its 2020 Real Es­tate As­sess­ment. GRESB is the lead­ing glob­al En­vir­on­ment­al, So­cial and Gov­ernance (ESG) bench­mark for the real es­tate and in­fra­struc­ture in­dus­tries. It is a vol­un­tary...
21 April 2020
Far-reach­ing pro­pos­als for a more sus­tain­able fu­ture: the new Cir­cu­lar...
Pub­lished in mid March, the European Com­mis­sion’s new Cir­cu­lar Eco­nomy Ac­tion Plan (the “Plan”) aims to ac­cel­er­ate the European Uni­on’s trans­ition to­wards a cir­cu­lar eco­nomy. This is to be achieved...
06 March 2020
Coronavir­us – Pro­tect­ing against sup­ply chain dis­rup­tion when ship­ping...
De­vel­op­ing a sup­ply chain re­sponse to the coronavir­us out­break in­volves be­ing ready be­fore such a crisis hits. Al­though the long-term con­sequences are yet to play out, the coronavir­us out­break already...