What is environmental law?

Environmental law is diverse and subject to constant change. Environmental legislation takes place at all political levels – from international environmental law (e.g. the Aarhus Convention and the Paris Agreement) to numerous European regulations and directives and the many German laws and regulations at federal and state level. Environmental law regulates, for example, rights, obligations and prohibitions with regard to the handling of various environmental media (water, soil, biodiversity, climate).

What significance does environmental law have for our lives?

A particularly relevant environmental law issue is how environmental concerns are to be taken into account in planning law. This mainly concerns the approval of large infrastructure projects or industrial plants. It is essential for the protection of the environment that the applicable environmental regulations are observed and enforced in such procedures. The participation of citizens and environmental associations is an important building block for ensuring that environmental, nature and climate protection are taken into account alongside economic interests, which are often particularly strongly represented. We therefore accompany and evaluate public participation processes, identify problems and develop proposals for solutions.

At present, there is also a huge and urgent need for action to make our infrastructure fit for the transformation to climate neutrality and, in particular, the energy transition. Planning procedures for climate and environmentally friendly projects must therefore be carried out more quickly. Effective measures are needed to speed up procedures without reducing environmental standards or curtailing civil society’s rights to participate and take legal action. To achieve this, we play an active role in the political process and issue statements on current draft legislation, for example.

Our work in the subject area

With our expertise, we actively contribute to current political debates and act as a link between politics and civil society. We provide scientific support to administrations, political actors and associations in the implementation and further development of national and European laws and international treaties in the field of environmental law. The range of our projects varies from projects on environmental legal protection in Germany, to projects in other European countries, for example on monitoring industrial emissions in Slovenia, to non-European projects on air pollution control or soil protection in Vietnam.

Contact person

Tom Grünberger

Environmental law & participation
Fully qualified lawyer (Ass. iur.)
Project manager

Phone: +4930428499335
E-Mail: tom.witschas@ufu.de


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Interview Prof. Schomerus

The Aarhus Convention - simply explained.