World Wildlife Fund and Others v Autonome Provinz Bozen and Others: ECJ 12 Oct 1999

The court considered a project for converting Bolzano airport in Italy from military to civilian use. The national law did not require the project to be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The court asked whether the national law conformed to the Directive. The questions for the court included whether Article 4(2) of the Directive could be interpreted as meaning that certain classes of the projects listed in Annex II may from the outset, in the absolute discretion of the Member States, be excluded in their entirety from the obligation to carry out an EIA, or whether the margin of discretion enjoyed by Member States is limited by the obligation in Article 2(1) to subject those projects likely in any event to have significant effects on the environment to an EIA. Although member states had been given some discretion as to the circumstances in which environmental impact assessments would be required, that discretion did not extend to excluding entire classes of projects from the requirements, where it was reasonable to expect that individual projects would have significant environmental impact. The criteria or thresholds mentioned in Article 4(2) of the Directive are designed to facilitate examination of the actual characteristics of any given project in order to determine whether it is subject to the requirement to carry out an assessment. No project likely to have significant effects on the environment should be exempt from assessment unless the specific project excluded could, on the basis of a comprehensive assessment, be regarded as not being likely to have such effects. All the elements of the project relevant to the environmental impact assessment must also be laid down in detail if a legislative Act is to be relied on to grant consent.


Times 12-Oct-1999, [2001] 1 CMLR 149, C-435/97, [1999] EUECJ C-435/97




Council Directive 85/337/EEC

Cited by:

CitedJones, Regina (on the Application of) v Mansfield District Council and Another CA 16-Oct-2003
Plannning permission was sought. Objectors said that it would have such an impact that an environmental impact assessment was required. They now sought judicial review of the decision to proceed without one.
Held: The judge had explained the . .
CitedRegina v Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Ex Parte Milne (2) QBD 31-Jul-2000
Developers submitted applications for outline permission for the development of a business park. The applicant sought to quash the grant on the basis that the environmental assessment was insufficiently detailed, and contained reserved matters, and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Environment, European

Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.90609