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A chronology of environmental policy milestones

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) was founded on 6 June 1986. Essential groundwork for establishing environmental protection as a policy area in its own right had been laid as early as the 1970s. Among the most important steps were the Federal Government’s environmental programme of 1971 and key legislation such as the Waste Disposal Act of 1972 and the Federal Immission Control Act of 1974. The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in Berlin and the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) were set up that same year.

---BREAK---The Federal Environment Ministry was established in response to the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on 26 April 1986. In this way, the different areas of environmental policy, which had previously been divided among various ministries, were then brought together under one roof.
Today, the Federal Environment Ministry is responsible for the areas of climate action, resource efficiency, water management, waste management, soil conservation, environmental health, immission control, installation safety, transport, chemical safety, nature conservation, sustainable use of natural resources, safety of nuclear installations, nuclear fuel cycle, radiological protection and international cooperation in these areas.
The broad range of topics underlines the cross-cutting nature of environmental policy and its relevance in almost all areas of everyday life. Over the past years, the Federal Environment Ministry has done a great deal to improve the protection of human health and the environment, shifting the approach to environmental policy from damage control to one of prevention and foresight. The modern environmental laws introduced by the Federal Environment Ministry are based on the principle of sustainable development. Some of these laws have also served as models for similar legislation in other countries.
The Federal Chancellor's organisational decree of 14 March 2018 assigned the Federal Environment Ministry its current responsibilities and its name "Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)". In the previous legislative period, the ministry was also responsible for urban development, housing, rural infrastructure, public building law, construction industry and federal buildings - areas that had been part of the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Transport before. The ministry was called the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) at that point. Also during the last legislative period, the lead responsibility for renewable energies, an area the Federal Environment Ministry had been responsible for since 2002, was assigned to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs.
The following chronology provides an overview of the Federal Environment Ministry's work, highlighting some of the milestones in environmental policy.

Federal Environment Ministers 1986 to 2018

Last update: 19.04.2018