BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - The Bundestag has given the green light for faster approvals for wind turbines and other industrial plants. In a roll-call vote on Thursday, the majority of MPs voted in favor of a law passed by the federal government that would significantly speed up approval procedures in Germany. Out of 643 MPs, 377 voted yes, 257 voted no and nine abstained.

The planned amendment is intended to allow certain facilities, including wind turbines, to be built and converted more quickly in Germany in future. To this end, the so-called Federal Immission Control Act will be amended - a law that affects all installations that cause noise or have other potentially harmful effects on the environment. In addition to wind turbines, this also includes rolling mills, foundries, waste disposal plants and plants for the production of hydrogen.

As the office of SPD member of parliament Daniel Rinkert reported in response to a dpa inquiry and citing figures from the Federation of German Industries (BDI), a total of 50,000 industrial plants in Germany that require a permit are covered by the law. Wind turbines are not included here. It also affects 2,000 approval procedures per year, it added.

As rapporteur for his parliamentary group, Rinkert played a key role in drafting the new law. "We are igniting the super turbo in terms of acceleration today," explained Rinkert in the Bundestag. According to the SPD MP, he assumes that procedures will be shortened by an average of ten months as a result.

Approval procedures are to be accelerated primarily through digitalization and the streamlining of previous procedural steps. The law is primarily intended to support the repowering of wind turbines - i.e. the replacement of older wind turbines with new ones.

Environmental standards would not be weakened by the simplified procedures, assured several members of parliament from the Greens and SPD during the almost 70-minute debate in the plenary session. In the past, environmental associations had repeatedly warned against reducing bureaucracy at the expense of environmental and nature standards.

Some of the opposition voiced harsh criticism. The CDU/CSU criticized, among other things, that it had generally taken too long to pass the law.

The law, which has now been approved by the Bundestag, is subject to approval - it can therefore only come into force once the Bundesrat has given its consent./faa/DP/stw