Metro neighbours sue Transport Ministry

Environmental evaluation missing from approved permits

A residential association near the Marble Church in the centre of Copenhagen, Beboerforeningerne omkring Marmorkirken (BoM), is taking the Transport Ministry to court for permitting the City Council to approve the night-work applications of the Metro construction without evaluating the effects on its surroundings.

BoM contends that a VVM evaluation, a Vurdering af Virkninger på Miljøet (Evaluation of Environmental Effects), should have been carried out. Such a report would take into consideration the effect the construction has on people, animals, nature and cultural heritage sites, among other things. The report must be submitted to a public hearing before the contractors can begin construction.

READ MORE: Metro construction under UN investigation

Both EU and Danish law demand evaluation
The evaluations are a result of the EU’s VVM directive and are part of standard planning legislation in Denmark. BoM contends that the permits handed out by the ministry are invalid.

“With this case we hope, once and for all, to establish that the authorities and the Metro Company must adhere to the demands of a preceding environmental evaluation and public hearing, which are required by EU law and the Aarhus Convention that Denmark has agreed to,” Kaj Larssen, a spokesperson for BoM, said in a press release.

On February 5, BoM won another case – this time against the nature and environment committee, Natur- og Miljøklagenævnet – concerning the City Council’s night-work permits. The commission deemed the permits invalid, but denied having the expertise to make a decision about the VVM issue.

READ MORE: Rising number of suicides on train tracks

Experts agree
That resulted in BoM taking the case to the city courts in a bid to obtain a VVM evaluation and halt any new permits being approved by the City Council.

“A long string of experts, including the state-appointed doctor, have all agreed. Never before have permits been granted for such considerable noise levels around urban housing, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, for such a long period of time,” Larssen said.

The transport minister, Magnus Heunicke (S), has yet to respond to the news.

Last month it was revealed that the UN was investigating the Metro construction for extending its working hours without consulting neighbours to the site.





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