The planning of a new extra-high-voltage line culminates in the planning approval procedure. The exact route, the installation locations for the pylons and all other technical details are clarified in a binding manner. The aim is to configure the route in such a way that the impacts on man and nature are kept to a minimum. Like with a building permit, construction of the route may begin once the planning approval decision has been made.
Commencement of the proceedings
The proceedings are conducted by the planning approval authority in the respective federal state. In the case of projects that cross federal-state or national borders, the Federal Requirements Plan Act states that it is the Federal Network Agency that is responsible for conducting the proceedings. In order for the planning approval procedure to commence, the transmission system operator, that is, Amprion, submits an application. This application contains specific plans and descriptions and also elucidates the environmental impacts.
The authority in charge of the planning approval procedure holds a proposal conference with Amprion – as the project developer – and the public interest bodies concerned. On this basis, the application documents are then prepared and made available to the public for perusal for a period of one month – in the offices of the municipal administrations along the expected route. Any interested party can now comment on the plans or raise objections. Those who do so within the period provided for this purpose can then take part in a joint hearing with Amprion and the authorities. If this hearing leads to changes to the plan, the participation process may have to be repeated.
The planning approval decision
Once the consultation process has been completed, the authority makes the planning approval decision, that is, it passes the planning resolution. It weighs up all public and private interests relating to the project against each other and then makes its decision. On making its decision, the authority may also impose conditions for construction and operation. The decision is made public and also delivered to those people who participated in the process by submitting objections and opinions. The authority also publishes its decision in the municipalities concerned.
More information on the planning approval proceedings can be found at  Netzausbau.de.