(Directives 85/337/EEC and 97/11/EC - Assessment of the effects of projects on the environment - Refurbishment and improvement works on urban roads - Whether subject to assessment)
In Case C-142/07,
REFERENCE for a preliminary ruling under Article 234 EC from the Juzgado de lo Contencioso-Administrativo No 22 de Madrid (Spain), made by decision of 23 January 2007, received at the Court on 12 March 2007, in the proceedings
Ecologistas en AcciÃ³n-CODA
Ayuntamiento de Madrid,
composed of A. Rosas, President of the Chamber, U. LÃµhmus (Rapporteur), J. Klucka, P. Lindh and A. Arabadjiev, Judges,
Advocate General: J. Kokott,
Registrar: M. Ferreira, Principal Administrator,
having regard to the written procedure and further to the hearing on 2 April 2008,
after considering the observations submitted on behalf of:
- Ecologistas en AcciÃ³n-CODA, by J. Doreste HernÃ¡ndez, abogado,
- the Ayuntamiento de Madrid, by I. MadroÃ±ero Peloche, acting as Agent, and A. SÃ¡nchez Cordero, abogada,
- the Italian Government, by I.M. Braguglia, acting as Agent, and G. Fiengo, avvocato dello Stato,
- the Commission of the European Communities, by A. Alcover San Pedro and J.-B. Laignelot, acting as Agents,
after hearing the Opinion of the Advocate General at the sitting on 30 April 2008,
gives the following
- the execution of construction works or of other installations or schemes,
- other interventions in the natural surroundings and landscape -¦
the applicant for authorisation for a private project or the public authority which initiates a project;
development consent- means:
the decision of the competent authority or authorities which entitles the developer to proceed with the project.'
'Member States shall adopt all measures necessary to ensure that, before consent is given, projects likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue, inter alia, of their nature, size or location are made subject to a requirement for development consent and an assessment with regard to their effects. -¦'
'The environmental impact assessment shall identify, describe and assess in an appropriate manner, in the light of each individual case and in accordance with Articles 4 to 11, the direct and indirect effects of a project on the following factors:
- human beings, fauna and flora;
- soil, water, air, climate and the landscape;
- material assets and the cultural heritage;
- the interaction between the factors mentioned in the first, second and third indents.'
Motorway- means a road specially designed and built for motor traffic, which does not serve properties bordering on it, and which:
(i) Is provided, except at special points or temporarily, with separate carriageways for the two directions of traffic, separated from each other by a dividing strip not intended for traffic or, exceptionally, by other means;
(ii) Does not cross at level with any road, railway or tramway track, or footpath; and
(iii) Is specially sign-posted as a motorway.
II.3 Express roads
An express road is a road reserved for motor traffic accessible only from interchanges or controlled junctions and on which, in particular, stopping and parking are prohibited on the running carriageway(s).'
The dispute in the main proceedings and the questions referred for a preliminary ruling
'(1) Are the procedural requirements relating to environmental impact assessments arising from [the amended directive] applicable to urban road projects, having regard to their nature, size and effect on densely populated areas or on landscapes of historical, cultural or archaeological significance?
(2) Are the procedural requirements relating to environmental impact assessments arising from [the amended directive] applicable to the projects which form the subject-matter of these administrative appeal proceedings, having regard to their nature, the nature of the road on which they are to be carried out, their characteristics, size, effect on the surrounding area, density of population, budget and the possible splitting up of a larger project which contemplates similar works on the same road?
(3) Are the criteria set out in [Commission v Spain, paragraphs 69 to 88] applicable to the projects which are the subject-matter of these proceedings, having regard to their nature, the nature of the road on which they are to be carried out, their characteristics, size, effect on the surrounding area, budget and the possible splitting up of a larger project which contemplates similar works on the same road, such that there was a requirement to submit them to the prescribed environmental impact assessment procedure?
(4) Do the relevant administrative records and, specifically, the studies and reports contained therein, demonstrate that the Spanish authorities have, in practice, complied with the obligations arising from [the amended directive] relating to the environmental assessment of the projects which are the subject-matter of these proceedings, even if the project was not formally made subject to the prescribed environmental assessment procedure set out in the directive?'
The questions referred for a preliminary ruling
The first three questions
The fourth question
On those grounds, the Court (Third Chamber) hereby rules:
Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997, must be interpreted as meaning that it provides for environmental impact assessment of refurbishment and improvement projects for urban roads, either where they are projects covered by point 7(b) or (c) of Annex I to the directive, or where they are projects covered by point 10(e) of Annex II or the first indent of point 13 thereof, which are likely, by virtue of their nature, size or location and, if appropriate, having regard to their interaction with other projects, to have significant effects on the environment.
* Language of the case: Spanish.