As the project progresses, the new line will go through various proceedings to approve the route and its implementation and construction.
Regional planning procedure: In accordance with Section 15 of Saxony’s State Planning Act (Sächsisches Landesplanungsgesetz), the purpose of the regional planning procedure is to determine whether plans or measures with a spatial impact meet the requirements of planning policy and how such plans and measures can be coordinated or implemented from a planning policy perspective.
Parliamentary scrutiny: The Bundestag will be informed about the plans from an early stage, e.g. about the preferred route, schedule and impact on the environment and residents.The basis for this is Section 5 of the requirements plan implementation agreement between Deutsche Bahn and the German government/Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. This is not an official process under administrative law but represents an important project milestone.
Planning approval procedure: The planning approval procedure is the process for obtaining a construction permit. In this process, the competent planning authority examines numerous legal and technical aspects of the project.
A regional planning procedure must routinely be conducted for infrastructure projects of regional importance. In accordance with Section 15 of the Federal Regional Planning Act (Raumordnungsgesetz, “ROG”), the regional planning authority examines the spatial impact of the plan or measure from a regional perspective. In particular, it looks at the plan’s compatibility with the requirements of regional planning policy and alignment with other projects and measures of relevance to spatial planning. The regional planning procedure should also examine any alternative locations or routes that are under serious consideration.
Regional planning policy is based on objectives, principles and other aspects of spatial planning. Objectives and principles are laid down in spatial development plans (state development plan and regional plan). The Federal Regional Planning Act also sets out guidelines and principles for spatial planning. Other regional planning requirements include, for example, regional planning objectives that are currently being drawn up, the results of regional planning procedures and state spatial planning opinions (landesplanerische Stellungnahmen) (see Section 3 ROG).
The regional planning procedure is conducted by the regional planning authority. The State Directorate of Saxony (Landesdirektion Sachsen) is the competent regional planning authority in the Free State of Saxony (see Section 19 (2) and (3) of the Saxony State Planning Act (Sächsisches Landesplanungsgesetz)).
DB Netz AG is the project developer.
The State Directorate of Saxony advises the project developer on the nature and scope of the documents to be submitted for the regional planning procedure. DB Netz AG prepares this documentation and submits it to the State Directorate.
The State Directorate then invites the involvement of public authorities affected by the project and of the general public and prepares a regional planning assessment on the basis of the proposals and documents provided by the project developer. This forms the basis for further planning by DB Netz AG.
The documents were available for public inspection from Monday 6 January to Friday 28 February 2020 in the municipalities likely to be affected by the project: Altenberg, Dresden, Heidenau, Dohna, Pirna, Liebstadt, Bahretal, Bad Gottleuba-Berggiesshübel, Müglitztal and Dohma. Anyone could view the documents.
Comments could be submitted to the State Directorate of Saxony (Landesdirektion Sachsen) or municipal authorities until a week after the end of the public comment period. Objections were evaluated by the regional planning authority.
The regional planning assessment sets out how the objections were taken into account in weighing the different interests. An individual response will not necessarily be provided for every objection.
The public includes children and young people.
To conclude the regional planning procedure, the State Directorate of Saxony (Landesdirektion Sachsen) produced a regional planning assessment. This sets out whether a project is consistent with the requirements of spatial planning policy and how it can be aligned both with planning policy and with other projects and measures of relevance to spatial planning.
The State Directorate of Saxony completed the regional planning procedure on 21 August 2020. It confirmed that the all-tunnel corridor and corridor option G are compatible with spatial planning requirements subject to certain stipulations.
The regional planning procedure concluded that an all-tunnel option could best be brought into line with the requirements of spatial planning. It concluded that corridor options D, E and F were not compatible with spatial planning requirements. Further information can be found in the regional planning assessment and the presentation by the State Directorate of Saxony on the results.
The requirements plan implementation agreement (Bedarfsplanumsetzungsvereinbarung) between Deutsche Bahn and the German government has been in place since 1 January 2018. This governs the financing of requirements plan projects in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan. The agreement contains important provisions on parliamentary scrutiny. The procedure provides for informing the legislature, after completion of the preliminary design phase, about the option chosen for the planning approval procedure (preferred option) and the results of the early public consultation pursuant to Section 25 (3) of the Law on Administrative Proceedings (Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz) so as to enable the legislature to take decisions if necessary.
A basic prerequisite for funding from the German government is the economic viability of the project as a whole (Section 6 Budgetary Principles Act (Haushaltsgrundsätzegesetz), Section 7 Federal Budget Code (Bundeshaushaltsordnung)).
The planning approval procedure (Planfeststellungsverfahren) is a formal administrative procedure. It ensures that a planned construction project meets all legal requirements and that all public and private interests are weighed up and taken into account.
According to Section 18 of the General Railway Act (Allgemeines Eisenbahngesetz, “AEG”), rail infrastructure may only be built or modified if the plan has been approved beforehand. Sections 72 to 78 of the Law on Administrative Procedures (Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz) apply to the planning approval procedure, subject to the AEG.
Once the planning approval procedure has been initiated, the documents will be publicly displayed for a period of at least one month in the affected municipalities along the route. The official gazette of each municipality and other media will publish details of when and where the planning documents can be viewed, and this information will also be announced on this website. Affected members of the public have the opportunity to submit written objections to the authority responsible for the public hearing.
Led by this authority, the public hearing provides a forum for objections to be discussed with the project developer. The outcome of this consultation procedure serves as the basis for the planning approval authority, the Federal Railway Authority, to weigh up the issues and make a decision.
After considering all objections, the Federal Railway Authority issues planning approval, the construction permit for the implementation of the project.