Associations hand over catalogue of demands to politicians
The EU Water Framework Directive must be implemented by 2027. So far, politicians in Berlin and Brandenburg have done too little to achieve this. More commitment and financial resources are needed for water protection. Environmental associations presented their demands today.
So far, 17 associations are involved in the Berlin-Brandenburg Water Network Initiative for the protection of water bodies and thus also clean drinking water.
The GRÜNE LIGA supports the wide appeal of scientists, environmental associations, social movements and political parties in Poland and Germany against the expansion of the Oder river. In the international appeal, the signatories demand that the cross-border expansion projects on the Oder and the Klützer Querfahrt (Polish: "Przekop Klucz-Ustowo") be stopped and that people and the environment be protected from the destructive effects of the expansion. The appeal is addressed to the governments of Germany and Poland, the EU Commission, the lending World Bank and the European Council Development Bank to stop these unlawful plans and to take ambitious steps to preserve and protect the natural landscapes and ecosystems along the Oder River in full compliance with EU law.
The organisations BUND, DAV, DKV, DAFV, DNR, Grüne Liga, NABU, WWF and Wanderfische ohne Grenzen (Migratory Fishes without Borders) have published an Open Letter on the draft of a law on the implementation of the Renewable Energies Directive (EU 2018/2001) for authorisation procedures according to the Federal Immission Control Act and the Federal Water Act (BR DS 25/21) in the field of small hydropower.
Joint press release by Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR), Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), WWF Deutschland, Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) Brandenburg, Grüne Liga Brandenburg and NaturFreunde Brandenburg
Several German environmental associations, in coordination with their Polish partner associations, have lodged a formal objection against the decision of the Director of the Environment in Szczecin, Poland, to approve the expansion of the Odra river. The German environmental organisations are convinced that the expansion would have a massive impact on valuable natural landscapes along the Odra river. The appeal also opens up the possibility for the environmental organisations to take legal action against the project.
The state water company Wody Polskie claims that the deepening of the Odra river is necessary for icebreaker operations in case of critical ice jams on 80 to 90 % of the year. At the same time, it would also improve fairway conditions for inland navigation. However, the environmental associations do not see any improvement in flood protection through the planned deepening of the Odra and even fear an increase in water levels during floods. The expansion project was also rejected in the environmental committee of the Brandenburg state parliament. "We welcome the broad rejection of the project that became clear in the committee. The state government should present the negative impacts of the expansion to the people in the Oderbruch and advocate for the federal government to take action vis-à-vis the Polish government," explains Carsten Preuß, Chairman of BUND Brandenburg.
Following World Fish Migration Day, 150 NGOs have joined forces to call on the EU institutions to stop public funding of new hydropower projects in Europe. Building more hydropower is contrary to the biodiversity goals of the European Green Deal, as new power plants would only make a small contribution to the energy transition, weighted by the environmental damage they cause. NGOs call for public investment to be redirected towards upgrading existing plants, energy efficiency measures and less polluting renewable energy alternatives such as wind and solar power.
The mobilisation by NGOs comes a few months after new analysis showed that 93% of Europe's freshwater migratory fish have been lost since 1970, partly due to hydropower. While 91% of existing and planned plants in Europe are considered "small" - meaning they have a capacity of less than 10MW - and contribute little to the energy mix, their environmental impact is dramatic. If built, these plants will destroy Europe's last free-flowing rivers and further degrade increasingly fragile freshwater ecosystems.