The project approval procedure

The project approval procedure is a formal administrative process in which all the relevant legal circumstances and objections by affected parties are examined. Public and private concerns affected by the project are weighed against each other.


The authority responsible for the project approval procedure is the Federal Railway Authority (FRA). The FRA is tasked with determining if Deutsche Bahn is complying with all of the relevant legal stipulations, particularly those regarding environmental protection and noise emissions, in its project planning.


All the planning documents are in the public domain. Everyone whose interests are affected by the project thus has an opportunity to submit substantiated written objections. Every public debate of this kind is handled by the state inspectorate: in the case of this new construction project, the relevant body is the Schleswig-Holstein roadbuilding and transport department.

Flow chart: project approval procedure sequence


  • The procedure commences with an application to the project approval authority by the project sponsor (in this case DB Netz AG).
  • The FRA sends the plans submitted to the inspectorate, the Schleswig-Holstein roadbuilding and transport department.
  • Within the scope of the subsequent enquiry, the planning documents are displayed to the public for one month in the communities affected.
  • Any party affected can express their concerns for two weeks after the end of the display period. DB Netz AG will respond to all the objections in its capacity as project sponsor.
  • In parallel, the inspectorate will obtain statements from the local authorities responsible for environmental protection, conservation law and protection from pollution.
  • On completion of the enquiry, the FRA, as the project approval authority, receives a statement from the Schleswig-Holstein roadbuilding and transport department summarising the results of the enquiry, statements by the authorities and any outstanding objections.
  • In the final phase of the procedure, the FRA will decide whether the project is admissible and whether the plans can be considered justified. Infrastructural measures are usually deemed justified if they contribute to transport safety, the removal of blackspots or - as in the case of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link - to improving infrastructure.

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