Further delay of Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link causes heightened political activity
On the 20th of august Reinhard Meyer, Minister of Transport for Schleswig-Holstein, briefed his Danish colleague, Hans Christian Schmidt, on the delay of the German authority process due to objections that can influence the construction plans and thereby the opening date of the tunnel.
Despite being within the timeframe announced in spring, the German planning and authorisation process, including the environmental authorisation, will be delayed: This is due to the knowledge acquired during the processing of the 3,100 written objections from citizens and organisations alike. According to Meyer, it is now clear that some of the objections certainly will mean adjustments to the construction plans.
Opponents of the Fehmarnbelt tunnel have already warned of coming court cases against the project. To avoid these cases, it is necessary to work minutely to avoid that the adjustments and the additional responses do not cause occasion to be tested in court. Meticulousness is more important than speed, Meyer stated during the meeting with his Danish Colleague.
The Ministry of Transport in the state of Schleswig-Holstein holds the approving authority, Landesbetrieb Strassenbau und Verkehr Schleswig-Holstein (LBV-SH).
The Danish Transport Minister Hans Christian Schmidt also questioned the date of the operation of the tunnel and the finances hereof shortly after he took office.
– We must wait for a clear indication from Germany regarding the approval of the tunnel plans. We are also lacking the final tenders from the consortia that Femern A/S are negotiating. The final tenders are to be put forward in the middle or late September, the Danish TransportMinistry declared.
The Danish Minister of Finance also made a stir by remarks doubting the certainty of the Fehmarnbelt Link. The Danish Government quickly made it clear that they support the agreement behind the Link 100%.
Letter of concern
While Danish Prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen visited the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on te 28th of August, where the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link was on the agenda, Region Zealand, The Capital Region of Denmark and Copenhagen Municipality addressed the Danish parties in Government behind the Fixed Link agreement.
The open letter states how the region, Denmark and Europe all need the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link and how they hope that the last few weeks turbulence was hopefully only ripples in the water.
Løkke and Merkel also underlined that both countries’ governments stand firmly behind the Fehmarn-project and that the process is for the Federal state of Schleswig-Holstein to manage.
Now Hans Christian Schmidt has accepted the offer by Meyer, Minister of Transport for Schleswig-Holstein, to come to Copenhagen and explain the status of the authority processing; a procedure that it crucially different than in Denmark.