Not in your backyard, neighbouring council tells Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s planned construction of wind turbines will disturb an EU-mandated bird sanctuary, critics in neighbouring Hvidovre say

Local councillors in Hvidovre are fuming that neighbouring Copenhagen plans to erect four wind turbines in a waterfront area on the border between the two cities. 

Hvidovre oppose the construction of the 148 metre wind turbines, four times the height of Copenhagen’s Round Tower, arguing they will spoil the view from their new beach near Kalvebod Syd, while compromising an adjacent nature reserve.

While citizen groups have been battling wind-turbine placements for years many of the newest disputes have emerged between neighbouring local governments. And in the case of Hvidovre versus Copenhagen, the conflict is one that pits members of the same party against each other.

A unanimous Hvidovre council, including four Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) members, has joined forces with a residents’ group to send a letter of protest to Ayfer Baykal, deputy mayor for environmental affairs in Copenhagen – and a member of SF – concerning the turbines.

“Our nature areas, with our new beach, and our many residents living on the coast will be disturbed,” Anders Wolf Andresen (SF), a Hvidovre councillor, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “I simply don’t understand that they can’t find an alternate placement for the turbines.”

But so far, Baykal has dismissed Hvidovre’s objections, contending that the turbines are going up in accordance to the capital’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by the year 2025.

“We are not putting up the turbines in order to harass the people of Hvidovre,” Baykal told Jyllands-Posten. “And personally, I don’t mind them becoming part of the city skyline.”

Hvidovre, however, said other concerns, such as the impact on environmental, recreational and property values in the area. The council also expressed concern that up to 5,000 people risk being disturbed by the low-frequency noise and flashing lights emanating from the turbines.

An environmental impact assessment carried out by Copenhagen did evaluate the effect of noise on residents, but according to Hvidovre officials, the calculations were based on the speed sound travels over land, not over water. 

“It is a proven fact that sounds moves easier across water than it does over land and that is not taken into consideration in the Danish system,” Henrik Møller, a sound researcher from Aalborg University, told Jyllands-Posten.

Hvidovre officials said the Copenhagen report should have been based on Swedish calculation models, which take into account the different speeds.

The dispute is currently being reviewed by national nature authority Naturstyrelsen, which must grant some dispensations to existing before the turbine project can be realised.