The Court Clears Way for Elbe River Deepening Project

Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has dismissed actions of the cities of Cuxhaven and Otterndorf and the Environmentalists against the deepening of Hamburg’s Elbe River.

According to the release, the Court decided to rule in favor of the dredging of the Elbe River so giant container ships can reach Hamburg.

Dredging the Elbe River 38-mile navigation channel to the North Sea to a depth of 15.6 meters (51 feet) has been and remains the most important strategic expansion project for the Port of Hamburg, the port said.

However, because of the complaints of the two cities that the dredging of the Elbe River would have a negative impact on outdoor swimming facilities, and the fear of the impact that dredging could have for one rare plant, the project was put on hold until the court proceedings were completed.

In its ruling, the court in Leipzig – the country’s last recourse in most administrative legal cases – said that the coastal cities of Cuxhaven and Otterndorf “would have to adapt to the situation, and accept any possible disadvantages”.

As we reported earlier on DT, the Court has already given partial green light to the Hamburg Port regarding the Elbe River deepening project, but only once it addresses environmental flaws to the plan.

With its latest decision, the court found that the failings of the earlier application have now been addressed. It also judged that the need for increased use of the waterway outranked the objections of the plaintiffs.