The planning approval procedure for transmission lines takes place after the sectoral plan stage, during which the Federal Council defines the planning corridor. In the planning approval procedure, specific projects are closely examined in order to verify that they meet the relevant safety requirements and legal provisions, especially those of environmental and area planning legislation. At the same time the procedure examines construction projects to ensure that they are reconcilable with the interests of private individuals (property owners, local population). The main focus is on the cabling of transmission lines, which already has to be clarified during the "Transmission Lines" sectoral plan process, since not every location is suitable for cabling.
The planning approval procedure is initiated following the submission of an application for planning approval. The Swiss Federal Inspectorate for Heavy Current Installations is responsible for examining applications and granting planning approval for high-voltage transmission lines for general electricity supply, while the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT) is responsible for planning approval for the Swiss Federal Railways electricity network.
If the Inspectorate is unable to deal with all objections or settle disputes between the involved federal authorities, it forwards the documentation to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), which then carries out negotiations with the parties concerned and subsequently issues a planning approval ruling. Appeals against rulings by the planning approval authorities (SFOE / FOT) may be submitted by the involved parties to the Swiss Federal Administrative Court, and subsequently to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court as final instance.