Environmental law includes all legal norms that aim to protect the environment.

The concept of environmental law is very broad. The environmentally relevant regulations include those of public law as well as those of civil and criminal law. Accordingly, environmental protection standards appear in almost the entire legal system. Environmental law is therefore a cross-sectional matter, as it extends across all areas of the legal system. In contrast to many European countries, there is still no uniform environmental code in Germany.

Environmental law has two levels of regulation (legal sources). It is regulated at an international level (international environmental law and European environmental law) and at a national level.

National environmental law consists of environmental constitutional law, environmental administrative law, environmental criminal law and private environmental law.

Zu dem nationalen umweltspezifischen Recht gehört insbesondere:

  • Atomgesetz (AtG)
  • Federal Immission Control Act (BimSchG)
  • Circular Economy and Waste Act (Krw-/AbfG)
  • Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG)
  • Federal Soil Protection Act (BBodSchG)
  • Straftaten gegen die Umwelt (§§ 324- 320 d StGB)
  • Federal Soil Protection Act (BBodSchG)

These are primarily laws that are formulated in such a way that they serve a specific environmental protection task. These standards represent the core area of environmental law.

But environmental law is also expressed as one of several legal goals, for example in the Spatial Planning Act (ROG), the Building Code or the Federal Highway Act. There are also standards in the Basic Law, General Security and Police Law and the Civil Code that, although not specifically related to the environment, may represent a benchmark for environmentally friendly measures.

On the following pages we will try to provide you with as much information as possible about the basic principles of environmental law.

We also recommend the following pages on the subject of environmental law: