The port area of Copenhagen where the artificial island will be located, Source: Stig Nygaard, on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Opposition grows against construction of Copenhagen’s artificial island

Opposition grows against construction of Copenhagen’s artificial island

Mayors of small localities in Denmark and Sweden think it can be disastrous for the marine environment

One of Denmark’s largest development projects in its history is already underway, with the construction of an artificial island, Lynetteholm, in the Copenhagen port area. The long process of its completion has as a horizon the year 2070 but a month after its official start it is already attracting serious controversy.

Adding to the cost estimate woes already reported by TheMayor.EU, there is also a considerable voice of concerns arising from the smaller coastal communities in the southern Øresund, the stretch of water that separates Denmark and Sweden. The municipal leaders are of the opinion that the marine environment would be irreparably disturbed.

Has it been a rushed decision?

Despite the lofty rhetoric surrounding the promotion of the construction project as the creation of a new residential district of the future, which will be built along sustainable lines, not everyone is convinced that this holds up well.

Already last year, as the Danish Parliament passed the bill allowing the go-ahead for the island there were demonstrations in front of the building, organized by climate activists. Environmental NGO Klimabevaegelsen (Climate Movement) spearheaded the action against the authorities threatening to take them to court.

It now turns out, however, that the association has bowed out since it doesn’t have the financial resources to continue the lengthy court battles, especially if they end up losing. The mayors of the coastal communities have been disappointed by this turn of events since they feel that they’ve lost an important partner. However, they intend to continue challenging the decision.

This is really bad news because it is also an expression that Lynetteholm has come to stay,” said Pernille Beckmann, mayor of Greve to TV2 ØST, continuing: “When an organization like the Climate Movement chooses to stop their fight for a halt to construction, it is a symptom that there is nothing to stand up for in that part, and that, I think, is a pity.

Her colleagues from municipalities located on Køge Bay are in agreement. Their concerns stem from the fact that the construction company plans to dispose of the sludge, dug out in preparing the base of the island, into the waters of the bay. The mayors think that putting the substance out of sight into the sea doesn’t remove the problem and in fact creates new ones as it threatens the existence of marine animals, such as dolphins.

I would have liked to have seen the project put on hold until we knew all the risks of the construction. I also think that the City of Copenhagen and the Folketing owe it to the Køge Bay municipalities,” commented Anette Mortensen, mayor of Stevns Municipality.

Now it's a trans-border problem

What’s more, the issue has taken on an international dimension since Swedish small localities on the other side of the Sound have expressed the same type of concerns about the construction.

The mayor of Velling, Carina Wutzler, has written both to the Swedish Government and the Copenhagen City Hall about the possible environmental risk that can arise in the wake of the large construction project.

She has identified the following three areas that can be impacted negatively in the long term:

  • Spread of sediments and pollutants that can damage the sea and nature as well as the municipality's rich and unique wildlife;
  • Changed flow in the Sound can affect the marine environment, marine life and erosion along our shores;
  • Tourism and business are very vulnerable to the impact of the headland retaining its unique nature on land and in the sea.



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