Toxic gas stalls development of meatpacking district
The future of one of CopenhagenÂ’s popular nightlife destinations, KÃ¸dbyen, is under threat after the safety of an underground ammonia facility has been brought into question.
Ammonia, which is both flammable and toxic, is transported via pipes under the tarmac to power cooling systems for the district’s vast, but now mostly defunct, meat-packing and storing facilities.
The area has witnessed a regeneration over the past two decades, however, with restaurants, bars and galleries moving into the district and developing its reputation as an important creative and social hub in the city.
But after an initial assessment of the ammonia transport system by consulting firm COWI, Copenhagen environmental agency, Center for MiljÃ¸ (CMI), has stalled all ongoing and future developments while COWI performs a detailed risk assessment.
Events gathering large numbers of people have also been banned.
KÃ¸dbyen is owned by the city, and any decision to remove and clean the ammonia system would cost the city between 80 and 100 million kroner.
Due to the dangers associated with ammonia, such a measure would be enormously disruptive on businesses operating in the district and may result in claims for compensation reaching 100 million kroner.
Â“We have stopped issuing new leases in KÃ¸dbyen because we are waiting for COWIÂ’s new risk assessment, which we will receive this week,Â” Mikkel Ã…rÃ¸ Hansen from CMI told AOK.dk
Â“If it turns out that the risk is too great, then we canÂ’t guarantee that there wonÂ’t be an impact on activities in KÃ¸dbyen. At the end of the day itÂ’s about peopleÂ’s safety.Â”
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