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Compensation and replacement measures for nature conservation

The aim of nature conservation is to preserve nature and landscape on the basis of their own value and as a livelihood for human beings. As it becomes increasingly clear that over-exploitation and destruction of nature and landscape can have serious negative consequences for humans, the aim is to restore, preserve and make the long-term and sustainable usability of the natural household.

The intervention regulation of the Lower Saxony Nature Conservation Act contains rules for dealing with the not particularly protected nature and landscape.

According to the Lower Saxony Nature Conservation Act, there is an intervention if the shape or use of land is changed and this change can significantly affect the efficiency of the natural household or the landscape. An intervention may only be authorised if it handles all the consequences of the intervention in accordance with the obligations of the procedure. The legal consequences of the intervention scheme may be - in this order:

  • Avoidance of impairment: In the case of a project which constitutes an intervention, care must be taken to ensure that its implementation does not affect the performance of the natural budget and the landscape more than is strictly necessary for the implementation of the project. An impairment is avoidable if the project can also be carried out in a modified manner (e.g. moved or reduced), so that less or no impairments are triggered.
  • Compensation measures: Unavoidable impairments of the efficiency of the natural household and the landscape must be compensated. This is achieved if all significant impairments can be reduced to a negligible extent by measures of nature conservation and landscape conservation (compensatory measures). The significant impairments can be considered compensatory if the destroyed or significantly impaired functions and values can be restored in the medium term, i.e. within a maximum period of 25 years. The compensatory measures do not necessarily have to be carried out on the spot of the intervention, but in the space affected by the intervention. This is almost always a much larger area than the built-over or immediately changed floor area.
  • Prohibition: If, as a result of an intervention, significant impairments of the efficiency of the natural household or the landscape are to be expected, which cannot be avoided and cannot be compensated, the intervention shall be inadmissible in so far as nature conservation and landscape maintenance are taken into account in the weighing of nature conservation and landscape management. The balancing decision can only be made from the overall view of all requirements for nature and landscape. There are no issues that take precedence from the outset.
  • Replacement measures: If interventions are allowed in the manner of the same manner, the person responsible for the intervention shall restore the functions and values of the natural balance and landscape, which are destroyed or significantly impaired as a result of the intervention, in the area affected by the intervention in the same manner as possible.
  • Replacement payments may replace replacement measures, provided that replacement measures are not possible, that the land required for its implementation cannot be procured or only with disproportionate expenditure, or that the measures are incompatible with the representations of the landscape planning. The amount of the replacement is determined by the duration and severity of the procedure.
It amounts to a maximum of 7 percent of the costs of planning and executing the intervention project, including land acquisition. In the other cases, it includes the costs of planning and implementing the omitted measures. The replacement payment shall be paid to the competent authority and shall be used to improve the condition of nature and landscape.
 

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)

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