The non-compensation of a quarry for its expiration consists of a violation of the right to property

JUDGMENT

Werra Naturstein GmbH & Co Kg v. Germany (no. 32377/12) 19.01.2017

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SUMMARY

Expropriation. The non-compensation of a quarry company for the losses due to the termination of its operation and the mining permit constitutes an infringement of the right to property.
The case concerned the applicant’s complaint of inadequate compensation when it had to terminate the operation of limestone quarries due to the construction of a motorway. When the company got the mining permit the design of the motorway was already in progress but the exact route was not finalized. Based on Article 1 of the First Additional Protocol (Property Protection), the applicant company claimed that although the route chosen along the quarry could reduce the cost to the general public, it had been charged with a disproportionate financial burden on the company. The ECtHR held that there had been a violation of Article 1 of the Protocol to the Convention.

USE 

The expedited shutdown of a quarry for the construction of a motorway must be compensated.

PROVISION

Article 1 of the First Protocol

PRINCIPAL FACTS

The applicant company, Werra Naturstein GmbH & Co Kg, is a German company based in Auengrund (Germany). The case concerned the company’s complaint about inadequate compensation when it had had to stop quarrying limestone due to the construction of a motorway.

In 1994 the applicant company was granted a 25-year mining licence to quarry limestone. The planning of the motorway was already under way, but the exact route had not been finalised. In November 2000, the route chosen being across the quarry, the mining authority declined to approve the applicant company’s operation plan for the next two years. As a consequence, the applicant company had to stop quarrying limestone and transferred its activity to another mining site in 2001, leaving 67% of the original volume of limestone still in the ground. It had to bear the costs of relocating the plant.

Administrative proceedings brought by the applicant company requesting the annulment of the planning decision for the construction of the motorway were discontinued in 2004, the local authorities and the applicant company having declared the matter resolved.

In 2005 the Government seized the land on which the quarry was situated after a settlement had been reached with the applicant company. The part of the applicant company’s land on which the
motorway had been built was expropriated in 2008 and compensation was set at 865,000 euros (EUR), which included compensation for the land value as farmland and some of the costs of relocation. This amount was later reduced to EUR 22,800 in judicial review proceedings. The effective loss of the applicant company’s mining licence and the consequences for its remaining quarrying operation were also assessed in those proceedings by the domestic courts between 2009 and 2011, but were not compensated at all.

THE DECISION OF THE COURT

Relying on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property), the applicant company alleged that, although the chosen route across the quarry might have saved costs for the general public, an
excessive financial burden had been imposed on it.

Violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1

Just satisfaction: The Court held that the question of the application of Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention was not ready for decision and reserved it for examination at a later date. where to get steroids


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