German minister announces further Fehmarn delay
13-12-2016Infrastructure
The Fehmarnbelt construction project is to be postponed again. This became apparent when the new Danish Transport Minister Ole Birk Olesen met with Schleswig-Holstein’s Transport Minister Reinhard Meyer in Kiel on 12 December.

According to Meyer, the final decision on the start of construction will be delayed by six months, i.e. to mid-2018. The main reason for the delay is the 12,600 objections and complaints that have been received from German Fehmarnbelt opponents.

Tensions have also arisen in the government coalition as Meyer has placed co-responsibiity for the delay with his ministerial colleague for the environment Robert Habeck (Greens). Habeck delivered a statement concerning the protection of porpoises in the Fehmarnbelt two months late, says the Transport Minister. In addition, a statement from the Environmental Protection Agency (Umweltbundesamt) on noise pollution from the tunnel construction has been delayed.  

Commenting on the new development, STRING Chairman Steen Bach Nielsen, Region Zealand, says:

"Yet another delay to the German approval process for the Fehmarnbelt project is worrying. We can only hope that the extreme thoroughness in this phase of the process will ensure that any  legal proceedings will proceed quickly and smoothly so that the overall timetable for the project can be maintained and we will be able to drive through the tunnel in 2028."

In a letter to Schleswig-Holstein's Transport Minister Reinhard Meyer, STRING's Chairman Steen Bach Nielsen expressed his serious concerns about the new delay to the approval process. The Chairman has appealed for joint focus on the great potential that the link offers and emphasises the necessity of the overall timetable for the tunnel opening, i.e. by 2028, being maintained.