The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Committee withdraws Initiative conditionally

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 19 October 2023

Swiss voters will not be able to vote on the Landscape Initiative. The committee has conditionally withdrawn it and is counting on the strict implementation of the revised spatial planning law which was passed by the parliament in autumn.

Committee withdraws Initiative conditionally

This was announced on Thursday by the supporting association “Yes to more nature, landscape and building culture”, which is behind the initiative. Thanks to the initiative, the parliament has included an important goal of the initiators in the spatial planning law: the stabilization of land consumption outside built-up areas.

Indirect counter-proposal to initiative

With the initiative, the committee wanted to “stop the rampant building in non-built-up areas,” as it writes. Outside the building zones, building without quality criteria and without quantity limits is now no longer possible. The second stage of the spatial planning law made advised the indirect counter-proposal to the initiative.

However, the initiative committee is critical of the special zones, in its words actual “black boxes”. It therefore wants to closely monitor how the responsible authorities deal with these special zones.

The hurdles for such zones are high, however, the committee admits, and the special zones must improve the overall situation. In addition to upgrading the settlement structure, cultivated land and landscape, this also includes for the first time biodiversity and building culture as criteria for guideline and land use planning.

The time factor

The time factor was also important for the committee. The new provisions in the spatial planning law could be implemented much faster than would be possible with a constitutional article and its implementation in law, it writes.

The initiative committee decided to conditionally withdraw its request with a large majority. However, it wants to monitor how the conversion of former agricultural buildings to residential use is handled in the special zones. It also wants to observe the possibility of replacing and enlarging older catering establishments.

The political work of the sponsorship does not end with the conditional withdrawal of the landscape initiative. It wants to reorganize itself and critically accompany the implementation of the second stage of the revision of the spatial planning law. If necessary, it also wants to become politically active again.

No referendum announced

The revised spatial planning law was passed by the National Council and the Council of States in the last fall session without any dissenting votes. A referendum has not yet been announced. The initiative itself has been recommended for rejection by the Council of States. The National Council has not yet decided on it.

At the heart of the revision of the law is a stabilization target: the cantons must define in the structure plan how they intend to keep the number of buildings stable outside the building zone. They must report regularly to the federal government and make adjustments if necessary.

The councils want to use incentives to ensure that buildings that are no longer in use disappear from the landscape. The cantons are now to pay demolition premiums for such buildings under certain conditions.

©Keystone/SDA

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