1. Germany's new Nature Conservation Act, which replaces the old law of 1976, strengthens the country's nature conservation associations. Another important amendment is the introduction of a biotope network. Isolated nature reserves, at present small oases in a heavily-populated industrial nation, are to be expanded and linked with others. Each of Germany's 16 federal states must make available at least 10 per cent of its land area for that purpose.

  2. On 17 April 2002, the German government adopted the national sustainability strategy "Perspectives for Germany - Our Strategy for Sustainable Development".

  3. The German "Act on the structured phase-out of the utilisation of nuclear energy for the commercial generation of electricity" makes fundamental amendments to the 1959 Atomic Energy Act: Instead of aiming to promote nuclear energy, the purpose of the act now is to phase out its use in a structured manner. Among the key points of the amendment is the ban on constructing new commercial nuclear power plants and the restriction of the residual operating life of existing nuclear power plants to 32 years from the time of the plant's start up. The new Act lays down a maximum permitted residual electricity volume for each individual nuclear power plant.

  4. The amendment of the Act on Managing Water Resources implements the EU Water Framework Directive. In particular the access to sustainable management of water resources across national boundaries has been anchored legally. Target is that all waters will gain a good state till 2015, not only concerning pollutants, but also the native flora and fauna. For that purpose management plans have to be elaborated till 2009.

  5. Owners of cars may return their scrapped vehicles to manufacturers or importers free of charge from now on. Following the new law, this is only valid for vehicles which have been licensed after the law has entered into force. Cars already in use before may be returned free of charge only from 2007 on. Germany is the first member state of the EC to convert the European directive on end-of-life vehicles (2000/53/EG) into national law.

  6. The Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/EC came into force on 18 July 2002.

  7. The Landfill Ordinance contains detailed technical, operational and organisational requirements for the construction, state, operation, decommissioning, and aftercare of landfills and long-time deposits. These requirements are legally binding to each operator. Ecologically insufficient facilities must not be operated from 2009 on. The target is to restrict the quantities and their toxic content to some justifiable limit according to environment and health. Jointly with the waste deposit regulation of 2001, which requires a pre-treatment of the waste to be deposited, the landfill ordinance implements the Council Directive on the landfill of waste (1999/31/EC).