Environmental protection: which sudlink corridor is the best??

environmental protection: which sudlink corridor is the best??

What is needed to ensure that nature conservation is not neglected in the expansion of high-voltage power lines?? A conference of experts wanted to get to the bottom of this question. Biologists and lawyers have explained what they think is important. What is now being determined during the so-called federal sectoral planning is not the exact path that the power highway will take one day. In the search for the best possible alternative, experts are currently trying to narrow down a corridor – and to avoid conflicts with the protection of species even now.

The federal administrative court will take a close look in the end. That’s why the federal network agency (BNA), as the decision-maker, is already focusing on environmental protection. Two gentlemen from BNA sit on the panel of experts representing the "hamelner erklarung" district association has convened. In the rough meeting room, the women and men sit in the middle of the construction site in the district office; discussing, analyzing, evaluating and questioning. What role does environmental protection play in the planning of the sudlink underground cable route??

Goal: dialog with operators

The "hameln declaration alliance" association had organized the conference. In 2014, the association was founded as an association of several counties through which the "sudlink" power line will pass could snake. The counties of bad kissingen, rhon-grabfeld, schweinfurt, main-spessart and main-kinzig-kreis are among the members of the association, as are a further dozen counties. Their goal: a constructive dialog with the grid operator company tennet. "We are not against the expansion, says tjark bartels, district administrator of hameln-pymront (in the south of lower saxony) and chairman of the district alliance.

Experts analyze

Instead, the association wants to know, understand and question what decisions are made of: where and how the line should run? The alliance has set itself the task of examining the content of the plans – with the help of expert consultants and legal counsel.

Under the earth

Since the summer of 2015 it has been clear: the pipeline will be buried. The politicians bow to the pressure and the protests and approve the underground variant. Instead of huge pylons, the power is to be chased through cables in the ground. Tennet plans anew. The county alliance continues.
The project is currently in the so-called federal sectoral planning phase: the beginning and end of the future high-voltage power lines have been determined. The corridors are now to be defined – strips up to 1,000 meters wide in which the lines could later be located. The rough question: where do the at best?

They are to be oriented to existing infrastructure such as railways or highways, and they are also not to run too close to forests, settlements and nature reserves. Who gets a say? Associations, citizens, clubs and authorities sit down with the transmission system operators and the federal network agency at the so-called application conference. In addition, anyone can click through the documents on the net. During the ongoing federal sectoral planning process, the federal network agency examines the route of the line, discusses it with all parties involved and ultimately decides which line corridor will be approved. The exact course of the route will then be determined by the planning approval process that will follow. As with a building permit, the details are laid down in the permit. Biologists have examined the impact of the expansion on the environment for the alliance.

Protected zones in the rhon

This does not mean that everywhere is analyzed by mapping what crawls and flies "that would be too much", says ulrich lindemann of the federal network agency. Essentially, data that has already been collected will form the basis, explains attorney dr. Peter durinke. It is clear that the underground cable in the rhon crosses some special protection zones: three eu bird sanctuaries and 17 FFH areas (flora-fauna-habitat, european protected areas). To intervene there must be "compelling reasons" and "a predominantly public interest" the hamburger environmental scientist dr. Karsten runge. If particularly endangered habitats or species are found there, the regulation becomes even stricter. "If they dig here, such a biotope can no longer be produced", the scientist says. "Species that only occur here are dependent on it. It is not by chance that they are under protection."

Effects "controllable

Biologist frank bernshausen explains how it is possible to avoid disturbing wildlife during the laying of underground cables – for example, by adapting the construction site to the time of day. The impact on amphibians, birds, reptiles, insects and mammals is "manageable" in his opinion.

How the underground cable route fits in at best with the "natura 2000" conservation project has been investigated by biologist jorg rassmus. "Natura 2000" forms a tightly meshed network of protected areas – in the sudlink area alone there are 130 FFH protected areas. It is necessary to compare many variants.
Bringing the line from the earth back to the surface in the form of an overhead line is "not an issue" and is the very last alternative at the most. Experts believe that this is also because it would not be economically viable for a short section. "Tennet has no interest in overhead lines", says attorney peter durinke. Moreover, the flats don’t give it, explains sven serong of the federal network agency. "There won’t be a near-machine picture – sometimes up, sometimes down", says dr. Sven serong, BNA. Nevertheless, says district administrator thomas bold, "even if no one wants it, it must be possible.

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