Milestone on route to fairway adjustment

On 23 May, the Federal Administrative Court delivered its written judgement to the court’s decision of 9 February this year to the parties fighting the law suit. Both the Federal and Hamburg administrations have already been working since February on the Court’s remaining reservations, eliminating them in supplementary proceedings. 

The Court’s judgement contains some clarifications, making this work easier. A considerable part of this consists of an additional measure compensating for the loss of stocks of the hemlock water dropwort. A suitable area for this has been found at Billwerder Island. 

In its judgement the Federal Administrative Court rejected the compensation area originally foreseen for the dropwort, since it was legally seen as a question of area management that had to be dealt with in any event. This was the Kreetsand cohesion-protection measure in line with European conservation law for the loss of the hemlock water dropwort caused by dredging. Therefore, on the road to obtaining final planning permission, it is an important task to plan an alternative cohesion measure, through which an additional habitat can be created for the hemlock water dropwort. For this purpose areas have to be found that are tidal providing this plant with a stable, almost undisturbed development. 

Both the Federal and Hamburg authorities have checked a number of possible areas for the measures, to find one that is suitable for a cohesion-protection measure. Taking the achievable compensatory scope for the hemlock water dropwort into account, the technical feasibility and the ecological effect, Billwerder Island area has proved to be especially well-suited. There, a number of old, disused sedimentation tanks belonging to Hamburg waterworks, should be opened to the effects of the tide. The old storage tanks will be designed with tide-ways, mudflats and islands, providing the hemlock water dropwort with a good habitat for the future. 

Senator Frank Horch states: “I am pleased that with Billwerder Island, we have been quickly able to find a suitable area for the development of the hemlock water dropwort. This means that we have reached another milestone. Now it is the job of the planners to quickly firm up these planning measures. We are informing the EU Commission about the judgement and the new ‘Billwerder Island 

Tidal Connection’ project. In addition, we have informed the recognized nature protection associations of our plans concerning Billwerder Island area and have invited them for discussions.” 

Prof. Dr. Hans-Heinrich Witte, the President of WSV - federal waterways and shipping agency stresses: “Jointly with Hamburg we are scrupulously preparing the technical planning and carrying out the necessary environmental investigations, with the aim of achieving full legal planning approval. We are processing the few shortcomings pinpointed by the Court for the upcoming supplementary proceedings, just as intensively and thoroughly.”