Dams on Elbe won’t bring the economic recovery

4.2.2010 - Děčín

Arnika joins in criticism of several anti-crisis proposals approved by the Czech Council of Economic and Social Agreement (so called tripartite) on February 2. One of the 38 points in fact suggests to improve sailing on the Elbe river by building steps in Přelouč and in Děčín. And yet, another proposal rejects adoption of a new clean air act.

Arnika also protests against such measures, which would – for reasons of economic recovery – damage the ecosystems of the Elbe river. „Billions from state budget poured into the Elbe in concrete will not rescue the Czech economy. The head of Arnika’s Nature Conservation Program Mrs Jana Vitnerová points out: „Even the World Bank, or the Supreme Audit Office have doubted the cost-effectiveness of constructions in the basin of the Elbe river“. In the framework of this program, Arnika follows the case of dams on the Elbe on a long-term basis.

First, it is the low water marks in the Czech Republic, which prevent further development of profitable river freight. But secondly, sailing conditions on the river are similar from the state border up to the city of Magdeburg. „Several billions of state budget would go into an absolutely pointless project. Instead of economic takeoff, the dams will only deepen the hole in the budget,“ Mrs Vitnerová adds to that.

So far there has been no proposal which would not contradict any nature protection regulation. However, supporters of previous projects expect to achieve a governmental exception. That would result in damage of nature areas protected not only by the Czech law, but also by the European Natura 2000 legislation. The environmental impact assessment of the new dam in Děčín has been postponed for several years. Tripartite’s conclusion, however, create pressure for a final decision to be made in 2010.

  • Arnika: Nature Protection Programme

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