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Metro construction under UN investigation

Extending working hours without consulting neighbours may have been against the law


The Metro wanted round-the-clock working to make up for lost time (Photo: Scanpix)

January 16, 2014
08:00

by PS


Complaints about the Metro construction has opened a UN investigation against the City Council and the Transport Ministry, reports Ritzau.

The case rests on whether the two public bodies broke three articles in the Aarhus Convention by not including the public in the decision to intensify the construction.

“The committee has determined that the complaint from the residents' association near Marmorkirken [Frederik’s Church] is suitable for further consideration and has therefore established it as a case. It is something that the authorities take seriously,” Lissie Klingenberg Jørgensen, a representative of the environment agency, Miljøstyrelsen, which is the co-ordinating body with regards to the convention, told Ritzau.

READ MORE: Metro neighbours fed up with Metro noise and inconvenience

Public should have been consulted
The Aarhus Convention came into force in 2001 and grants the public the right to participate and demand information in government decision-making on issues related to the environment.

The UN body is now awaiting a ruling from the environmental appeals board, Natur- og Miljøklagenævneon, on  whether City Council acted illegally by not having a public hearing and new environmental assessment when it decided in June to extend working hours at Metro construction sites.

Peter Pagh, a professor in environmental law from the University of Copenhagen, warned of this situation in May.

Expert predicted the mess
"This is a significant project change and requires a new environmental assessment and new public hearings,” Pagh told Politiken newspaper. "If the council accepts it, they will violate the EIA [environmental impact assessment], two EU directives, the Aarhus Convention and several judgments by the European Council for Human Rights,” he said.

Copenhagen and Frederiksberg City Councils and the Transport Ministry all claim that the extended working hours did not violate the existing EIA, and therefore did not require a public consultation.



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