Within the framework of the approval procedure for offshore wind farms in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), potential adverse impacts of the planned facilities on the marine environment have to be assessed. Besides, following the amendment to the Seeanlagenverordnung effective 5 April 2002, an Environmental Impact Assessment according to the Art. 2a, Seeanlagenverordnung, is now mandatory for most projects. In the Standards for Environmental Impact Assessments, information is provided to applicants on the scope of investigations required by the approval authority, with all relevant details and explanations. Likewise, the approval holders and operators of wind farms are provided with detailed information about the requirements for operation-phase monitoring, which is currently considered indispensable.
The Standards for Environmental Impact Assessments constitute a framework of the thematic and technical minimum requirements for marine environmental surveys and monitoring under Art. 3, Seeanlagenverordnung, as well as for monitoring during the operation phase.
The second update of the Standards for Environmental Impact Assessments is based on experience that has been gained with the versions of 20 December 2001 and 25 February 2003, and on data from the surveys that have been made. Apart from a general increase in knowledge, the findings of environmental monitoring carried out under the German Federal and State Monitoring programme (Bund/Länder-Messprogramm, BLMP)in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, the Helsinki Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, and the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North Sea and North-East Atlantic have been taken into account.