Redesign in Bad Honnef: BUND takes legal action against rebuilding of Grafenwerth Island

Redesign in Bad Honnef : BUND takes legal action against rebuilding of Grafenwerth Island

With a complaint to the administrative court in Cologne, the conservationists are trying to thwart the plans of the city of Bad Honnef for Grafenwerth. They want to invest 3.3 million Euro to make the island more attractive.

According to its own statements, the German branch of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), Rhein-Sieg district group, has filed a lawsuit against the conversions planned by the city of Bad Honnef on the island of Grafenwerth. Neither the district nor the city had received the complaint on Monday. Meanwhile, BUND spokesman Achim Baumgartner informed the GA about the complaint at the Cologne Administrative Court. She objected to the so-called notice of exemption issued by the district's lower nature conservation authority.

As is well known, the island of Grafenwerth is located in a protected landscape area and is bordered by the Flora-Fauna-Habitat (FFH) area. He assumes that the lawsuit also has a suspension effect, said Baumgartner. Should this be the case, the project would be blocked, possibly completely endangered.

The preparations had just begun last week. According to the city administration, these include tree felling and tree care measures. This work initially covered the northern tip of the island and would probably last until mid-May. Parts of the northern tip would have to be closed off to visitors.

Working title: Green jewel in new splendor

As reported, it is planned to redesign the island of Grafenwerth for around 3.3 million Euro under the title "Green Jewel in New Splendor". The city will receive around two million Euro in subsidies from the state; it will contribute more than one million Euro itself. A delay could have consequences: The funding providers set deadlines. As reported several times, everything must be ready by 2021. In 2020, events for the Beethoven anniversary are planned on the island, among others.

Baumgartner justifies the complaint with the fact that "contrary to the assumption of the authorities, the aim of the construction project" is not "to direct the recreational use on the island in such a way that more nature conservation is possible there in addition to recreational use, but rather to increase the recreational use on playing fields, playgrounds, an outside staircase and in the course of festivals in general". For the "nature conservation, effective and undisturbed new quiet zones" would not be created.

On the contrary: "Beaches that are still close to nature at the northern tip will be further transformed, and playgrounds will be created in the alluvial forest, which will result in an increased obligation to maintain safety on the roads at the expense of the old trees.

BUND criticizes plans in view of climate change

Also the recommendation of the nature conservation advisory board to dispense with the planned open staircase on the bank had not been taken into account. Baumgartner: "It is regrettable that the Bad Honnef Council is pursuing the 3.3 million euro measures against nature at all in view of climate change and insect mortality.

The task of a nature conservation authority, however, was to "point out the legal and technical limits of what is possible and to refuse an exemption". For protection objectives of landscape protection such as development potential for the regional biotope network and habitat for animals and plants typical of the landscape are taken ad absurdum.

It was also questionable that the funding for this "outdated construction project" had been approved at all. The funding objectives of "Zukunft Stadtgrün" "would fit in very well with an ambitious green development in Bad Honnef's city park. However, they do not fit at all with construction measures on the island of Grafenwerth", said Baumgartner.

For BUND this is the second lawsuit against measures on Honnef's urban area within a few months. The environmentalists had failed before the administrative court with their complaint against the clearing of the forest as a result of the bark beetle infestation, and the higher administrative court rejected a complaint.

The BUND had already lodged a complaint against the plans for Grafenwerth in 2019; in its opinion, the re-naturisation of the island and the relocation of buildings such as the tennis court away from the island would be beneficial and worthy of support, the BUND commented at the time.

In response to a GA enquiry, the district and city stated that it was too early to make any judgements on the matter. District press spokeswoman Rita Lorenz: "So far we have not even received the complaint, that would be poking in the fog.

(Original text: Claudia Sülzen; Translation: Mareike Graepel)