Trittin outlines German nature law overhaul

Details emerge of plans for a "fundamental modernisation" of existing legislation

German environment minister Jürgen Trittin has outlined plans for a "fundamental modernisation" of national nature protection law. Detailed in a paper completed earlier this month, the plans are likely to be formally proposed before the summer recess and would revise an existing law passed in 1998.

They include an overhaul of current nature protection measures in the areas of agriculture, planning, and environmental monitoring by regional authorities. Marine protection would be stepped up and there would be new sections in the revised law on animal and plant conservation, including creation of a nation-wide network of protected habitats, or biotopes. More public information and a better relationship between nature protection aims and land used for sport and recreation are also on the agenda.

The changes were promised by Mr Trittin late last year (ENDS Daily 25 October 1999). He told TAZ newspaper on Friday that he would seek to bypass the Bundesrat, Germany's upper parliamentary house, until the last stages of agreeing the new law. Nature protection NGOs would also play a greater role, being given an official role in national law-making for the first time, reflecting a similar system operating at regional level in 13 states.

Follow Up:
German environment ministry, tel: +49 30 28 55 00; TAZ newspaper and 12 May news article, and interview.

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