Ffh area needs a prufung

At first glance, one could think that agriculture is no longer worthwhile here. Too acidic soil perhaps or too much moisture due to climate change. But the reason dominik rub has left a roughly six-hectare flat in the itzauen near baunach fallow this year is different. Still waiting for the EU-designated nature conservation area to be "filled in" farmers are waiting for a ruling by the bavarian administrative court (VGH) on whether or not they are allowed to use the land newly allocated to them by the land consolidation in the FFH area as farmland. It is to be spoken still this year.

The plaintiff ludwig neumann from daschendorf currently also knows nothing new. "I would like to call before, how it goes on", he says, because in the case law concerning FFH areas "we are all swimming". He is surprised that the same district office that opposes farming on its agricultural land is granting an exemption for a supermarket that protrudes far into the protected area. "Is agriculture worth less?", he asks. In his case, the authorities had refused an assessment and in principle – also in order not to create a precedent – had rejected changes in FFH areas.

Franz and dominik rub from baunach are also waiting for the ruling from munich. They, too, have objected to the order of the district office. "We have not worked on our six hectares of flat land in the FFH area this year," he says. We just mulch them and leave them", says franz rub. The EU’s decommissioning subsidy is just enough to cover the associated costs: the rent in particular, plus property tax, diesel and contributions to the employers’ liability insurance association. "We get off lightly, we don’t suffer any damage, but we don’t earn anything either." If they were to break up the land and, for example, cultivate grain, they would then, according to the current legal situation, have to clear the area with "authentic" soil reseeding seed. At the end of the day, there would probably be nothing left.

But the outlook for the FFH-damaged farmers seems to be getting better. "In another case, the administrative court of bayreuth has now ruled that the designation as an FFH area alone is not enough to prevent a change of use", says hubert dietz, executive director of the bamberger bauernverband. In such cases, a case-by-case review is required – but such a discretionary decision has not yet been made in the case of arable farming use of the baunach FFH areas. Instead, the district office of bamberg has threatened to impose fines.

In the new case, a landowner in the northern district wanted to reforest his protected flatland. The food, agriculture and forestry office had no objections, but the lower nature conservation authority at the district office did, and finally rejected the case. However, according to forestry director hans schmid, the ruling has become legally binding because of the "back and forth," says a deadline had been missed between the authorities: if an application is not rejected within three months, it is considered approved ("permission fiction"). This formally preempted the decision in the matter, but without diminishing its significance.

According to BBV managing director hubert dietz, it is clear from the reasons for the ruling that in such cases the district office must weigh up the interests (discretionary decision). "You can’t just reject it and not because of that, to avoid precedent traps", says the farmers’ association representative. A factual assessment with weighing of the interests is in any case the better solution for the matter.

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