[English] Major coalition complains to the EU about Lynetteholm blocking water flow
17 organisations from the Baltic Sea countries with more than 1.5 million members are now going to the EU to stop the Lynetteholm blockage of the water flow to the Baltic Sea.
The construction of Lynetteholm in Copenhagen could literally be a plug in the Øresund, blocking the flow of water to the Baltic Sea. An independent assessment by the Dutch company Deltares shows that it may block water flow by up to 0.5%, which can have significant negative consequences for the marine environment. Therefore, 17 organisations from the Baltic Sea countries, counting more than 1.5 million members, are now joining forces to petition the EU to stop the project:
"Blocking the water flow into the Sound could have major consequences for the ecosystems of the Baltic Sea. Therefore, it is imperative that the government consults the countries concerned before proceeding with the project. Time is against us because work on phase 1 of the project is continuing, and if the project is not put on hold, it may soon be too late.", says Frederik Sandby, head of the secretariat of the Climate Movement in Denmark and initiator of the coalition together with the Danish Society for Nature Conservation and the Coalition Clean Baltic.
As even minimal changes in the water flow into the Baltic Sea can affect the entire Baltic Sea and thus the marine environment of all the countries around the Baltic Sea, a long-standing practice in Denmark and understanding among the Baltic Sea countries has ensured that no large construction projects can restrict water flow into the Baltic Sea - an understanding also referred to as a 'zero solution'.
Major negative impacts on the marine environment
In the petition, the signatory organisations call for the project to be modified to ensure a zero solution for saltwater flow into the Baltic Sea, that a new consultation is carried out among all the Baltic Sea countries and that the project is put on hold until such consultation has taken place. It is hoped that through this request, the matter will be advanced and raised in the relevant international fora and with the Danish government.
"After pressure from the Swedish authorities, in particular, the Danish Minister of Transport thankfully decided to stop dumping contaminated sludge in the Køge Bay - but the environmental impact of contaminated sludge on the Baltic Sea is peanuts compared to the environmental impact of reduced saltwater flow. That is why we hope that the Danish government will again listen to its neighbours and safeguard the Baltic Sea for the future", says Michael Løvendal Kruse, chairman of the Danish Society for Nature Conservation's Stevns branch.
Breaking with previous practices
With the approval of the Lynetteholm project, the Danish state has deviated from previous practice in relation to a zero solution, as the project could block the water flow into the Baltic Sea by up to 0.5%.
Under the UN Espoo Convention and the EU's SEA/EIA Directives, the authorities of a country are obliged to consult all countries that may be environmentally affected by a construction project unless "significant transboundary impact can be excluded with certainty". The coalition behind the letter believes that this cannot be ruled out with certainty and therefore demands that the Lynetteholm project be put on hold until a consultation of all Baltic Sea countries has been carried out, and the Danish state has secured a zero solution for the project. The coalition, therefore, believes that it is imperative that the project is suspended immediately while all relevant countries and organisations are consulted.
"Unilateral Danish adoption of the Lynetteholm project breaks with decades of good cooperation between the Baltic Sea countries on the Baltic Sea environment. This is why the project will have to be stopped until all relevant countries are consulted," says Mikhail Durkin, head of the secretariat of the organisation Coalition Clean Baltic.
The project was adopted despite Swedish criticism
So far, only Sweden is being consulted under the Espoo Convention. But although the then Swedish Minister for the Environment and Climate Per Bolund, on 6 May 2021, in a direct letter to the Danish Minister of the Environment, very clearly requested that Denmark not adopt the construction law until the environmental impacts of the project had been sufficiently studied and Espoo negotiations concluded, this was ignored, and the construction law was adopted by a majority in the Danish Parliament on 4 June 2021.
With this initiative, the coalition is trying to gather political support in the Baltic Sea countries to slow down the project. After intense debate, the Danish government stated in May 2022 that the possibility of technically making a zero solution for the Lynetteholm project will be investigated. To ensure that this happens, the coalition believes that public awareness and political pressure must be maintained.
Margrete Auken pulls the EU into the case
EU MEP Margrete Auken, who has already helped the case in the European Parliament's Committee on Petitions, is now trying to mobilise the Commissionby questioning the legality of the way the Lynetteholm project was done.
In an email to her green EU colleagues from the other Baltic countries, she also urges them to put pressure on the Danish government to ensure that all rules are respected.
"At the time of writing, Denmark is undertaking a construction project that will most likely reduce the water flow into the Baltic Sea and seriously damage its delicate marine ecosystems!" writes Margrete Auken and adds, "The Baltic Sea countries have a long tradition of working together to protect the Baltic Sea's fragile marine environment, and we believe that with a united, coordinated approach we can make an impression on the Danish government."
The coalition consists of:
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. Karin Lexén, Secretary General
The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. Tapani Veistola, Executive Director
BUND Schleswig Holstein. Ole Eggers, Director
Green Foundation GAIA, Poland. Jakub Skorupski, dr. inz.
The Lithuanian Fund for Nature. Edmundas Greimas, Director
WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme. Johanna Fox, Director
Greenpeace Nordic. Mads Flarup Christensen, Executive Director
Deutscher Angelfischerverband. Florian Stein, Fachreichleiter
The Swedish Anglers Association. Sten Frohm, Secretary General
Danmarks Sportsfiskerforbund. Lars Rasmussen, CEO
Dansk Ornitologisk Forening / BirdLife Denmark. Egon Østergaard, Chairman
Dansk Sejlunion. Christian Lerche, Director
Dansk Jægerforbund/Danish Hunters Association. Claus Lind Christensen, Chairman
Byen for Borgerne – Stop Lynetteholm. Lone Johnsen.
As well as the initiators:
Coalition Clean Baltic. Mikhail Durkin, Executive Secretary
The Danish Society for Nature Conservation. Maria Reumert Gjerding, President
The Climate Movement in Denmark. Frederik Sandby, Head of Secretariat
Michael Løvendal KruseFormandDanmarks Naturfredningsforening StevnsTel:+45 3154 firstname.lastname@example.org
Frederik Roland SandbySekretariatslederKlimabevægelsen i DanmarkTel:+45 2295 email@example.com
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