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J Environ Manage. 2011 Apr;92(4):1097-103. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.11.010. Epub 2010 Dec 14.

EIA screening and nature protection in Denmark.

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Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, 9220 Aalborg OE, Denmark.


The number of environmental impact assessment (EIA) screenings in Denmark has increased dramatically since 2000. This is a consequence of increased pig production as well as the concentration of production on larger farms. In the same period, EIA rules have developed primarily due to an increased focus on the protection of groundwater and Natura 2000 sites. In particular, the implementation of Natura 2000 in Danish legislation has increased the demands on many farms. In its rulings on appealed cases, the Nature Protection Board of Appeal has strengthened its demands, and this is mirrored in screening practices. In this paper, the demands formulated in the guidelines of local authorities were analysed in order to investigate how the protection of groundwater, coastal waters, lakes and Natura 2000 sites develops through EIA screening. It is concluded that the level of protection has improved, and that the main cause for this is not EIA regulations as such, but the positive role which the implementation of the Natura 2000 objectives has played in this development. However, it was also found that the formulation of demands varies greatly between the counties, thus often resulting in ambiguity and leaving room for quite different practices in different counties.

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