Public participation under the NABEG
Due to the greater importance of public participation, the NABEG contains formal and elaborate regulations for all phases of the approval process. The first phase is the federal sectoral planning, involving the search for a corridor for the line to be constructed in accordance with the principles of spatial planning. In the scope of the public project conferences during federal sectoral planning, each citizen has the opportunity to express their opinion on the project plans. After the conference, in which citizens can participate in addition to environmental associations, state authorities and other offices responsible for public policy, the planning documents are made available for public consultation - both at the office of the Federal Network Agency in Berlin and locally, often in the town or city halls. They are also published online at the same time. Citizens can then take a position on the planned corridors in writing within one month. The Federal Network Agency collects all remarks that were received in time and processes them at a public hearing. The decision of the federal sectoral planning is made available for consultation and published online. The planning approval proceedings follow the federal sectoral planning. Here too, there is a formal participation opportunity following the same design. During the project conference, which is open to all, the application is discussed to determine the scope of survey.
The planning documents, which now contain the specific route, are made available for public consultation. Again, citizens, environmental associations and offices responsible for public policy can take a position and present their wishes one last time at a hearing. The planning approval decision is made available for consultation and published online. It is on this basis that affected parties acquire the right to lodge an Appeal.
Formal participation for single-state projects
In case of line construction projects at the state level, the search for a route corridor follows the regional planning procedure. This procedure does not allow direct participation by citizens. However, environmental associations, municipalities and other offices responsible for public policy are involved, and these can pass on any citizen input.
In the subsequent planning approval proceedings, the principles of public notice and public disclosure of the documents apply again. At this stage, directly affected citizens can present their objections, which are often discussed one last time during a hearing. The hearing and the public notice are not obligatory under the EnWG, but are common practice nevertheless.