German approval of the Fehmarnbelt tunnel
The Ministry of Transport of Schleswig-Holstein announced at the tail end of December that the plan approval of the Fehmarnbelt tunnel is due to be signed imminently.
In accordance with German regulations, Femern A/S has been given 14 days to review the approval before it is signed. During this process, only minor editorial changes may be made.
"I am delighted and proud that we have today reached this crucial milestone. This is the result of several years of cooperation between the parties involved in Denmark and Germany. The approval means that agreement has now been reached between the German authorities and Femern A/S on how to construct the tunnel", sayid Claus Dynesen, Project Director at Femern A/S.
The actual plan approval is a legal document of more than 1,000 pages. It is based on the 14,000-page application prepared by Femern A/S and LBV Lübeck in cooperation with German experts. The application has been through two major public rounds of consultation in Germany since it was submitted for the first time in autumn 2013. Thus, it is a very robust and thorough application that takes into account both local interests and German and EU legislation in areas such as environment and safety.
"The plan approval determines the requirements and conditions that must be met, especially in relation to the environment, in order for Femern A/S's construction work on the German side to proceed. We will now thoroughly analyse the approval, and then, during the spring, we will present scenarios on how we will achieve the project goals", says Claus Dynesen.
The German plan approval may be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. Femern A/S has prepared thoroughly with this in mind. German legal proceedings would determine when construction can begin in earnest on the German side.
Most of the Fehmarnbelt construction work will take place on the Danish side at Rødbyhavn, where the largescale factory and work harbour for the production of the 70,000 tonne tunnel elements will be located.
The 17.6km tunnel is due to be completed in 2020 and will be the largest combined rail and road tunnel in the world.
By Jake Frith
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