Fund for the exemption of the reliability of contaminated sites caused by state owned industries during the existence of the German Democratic Republic.
Until 1990 all industrial sites in Eastern Germany were state owned. Thus, no private companies could be held responsible for environmental damages caused during production. German law usually holds the polluter responsible for the remediation of brown fields (polluter pays principle). To remediate brown fields and simultaneously increase investments in Saxony-Anhalt, a fund was created to exempt companies from the liability that comes with investing in contaminated sites. The exemption is regulated in Article 1 § 4 subparagraph 3 of the Environmental Framework Act (URaG). Exemption can be granted for cases before July 1st, 1990. Nowadays, a new request for exemption of remediation liability can only be granted if the original application for exemption for the property was made before March 30, 1992.
The exemption is only intended for commercial used properties and often granted with ancillary provisions such as job and investment requirements.
A fund of EUR 1 billion was set up to cover the costs of the remediation of contaminated sites. Interest on the fund and investments on the capital market are intended to cover the ongoing costs for the remediation of the sites.
Evidence of success
Trough the exemption of remediation liability more than 1,000 jobs could be created in Saxony-Anhalt only in the years 2017-2019. Additionally, investments of 461.3 Million Euros were achieved.
In the industrial park Bitterfeld-Wolfen 360 companies have decided to settle at the location and invested 4.5 billion Euros by now. This saved more than 11,000 jobs only in this location.
Since 1993 more than EUR 1.58 billion have been spent to decontaminate locations in cooperation with companies.
Potential for learning or transfer
Exemption of remediation liability can be a potential tool for every region with former state-owned companies that caused or are still causing environmental damages. Thus, risk posed by contaminated sites to humans and the environment can be reduced to a minimum by promoting the regional development and stimulating the economic output of a region in the same way.
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