Dane loses to state in appeal case over beaver damage

A landowner in rural Denmark has failed in a bid to win compensation for damage caused to his property by gnawing beavers.

Dane loses to state in appeal case over beaver damage
Photo: Mirage3/Depositphotos

Find Andersen-Fruedahl, who lives in Møborg near the towns of Lemvig and Holstebro in West Jutland, had appealed against a previous decision by a district court, in which he brought a civil law suit against the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen).

The property owner had asked for between 200,000 and 300,000 kroner (27,000-40,000 euros) as compensation for trees and lakes damaged by beavers.

But the Vestre Landsret higher court upheld the previous verdict in a decision reached on Tuesday, DR reports.

“I’m disappointed. We’d hoped we would win, but I knew it was unlikely, because it’s the little guy against the great powers,” Andersen-Fruedahl told DR.

Beavers munched their way through trees including Sitka spruce, firs and red beeches on Andersen-Fruedahl’s property, causing many trees to fall with ground floods occurring as a result, the landowner said.

Andersen-Fruedahl argued that it was up to the environmental agency to control the beaver colony living on his land. He said that he would speak to his lawyer about whether to take the case further.

“Perhaps we should get hold of some politicians and try to change the decision that was made long ago to allow beavers to roam freely. It’s not just me that has problems with beavers,” he said.

The Danish Nature Agency (Naturstyrelsen) in 1999 reintroduced the beaver to Denmark by releasing 18 animals in the Klosterheden Plantage nature reserve close to Andersen-Fruedahl’s land.

That small population has grown to 200 individuals today, DR writes. The animals, which gnaw through trees and build dams, remain protected under Denmark’s nature laws, meaning the state is not liable for damage they cause, according to a previous ruling by Holstebro District Court.

READ ALSO: Dane loses court case over gnawing beaver problem


‘We still have a chance’: Danish minister’s relief after Glasgow climate deal

Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen has expressed relief that a meaningful climate change deal was struck in Glasgow last night, after a last minute move by India and China nearly knocked it off course.

'We still have a chance': Danish minister's relief after Glasgow climate deal
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen speaks at the announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

“For the first time ever, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have been mentioned. I’m very, very happy about that,” he told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper. “But I am also very disappointed that the stronger formulations were removed at the last minute.” 

Late on Saturday, the world’s countries agreed the Glasgow Climate Pact, after negotiations dragged on while governments haggled over phasing out coal. 

Denmark is one of the countries leading the phase out of fossil fuels, formally launching the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) with ten other countries and states at the Glasgow summit on Tuesday, announcing an end to oil exploration last December, and committing to phase out coal by 2030 back in 2017. 

Jørgensen conceded that the deal struck on Saturday was nowhere near far-reaching enough to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C, which scientists have estimated is critical to limiting the impacts of climate change, but he said the decision to hold another summit in Egypt next year meant that this goal could still be reached. 

“The big, good news is that we could have closed the door today. If we had followed the rules, we would only have had to update the climate plans in 2025, and the updates would only apply from 2030,” he said, adding that this would be too late. “Now we can fight on as early as next year. This is very rare under the auspices of the UN.” 

Limiting temperature rises to 1.5C was still possible, he said. 

“We have a chance. The framework is in place to make the right decisions. There was a risk that that framework would not be there.” 

Jørgensen said that he had come close to tears when India launched a last-minute bid to water down the language when it came to coal, putting the entire deal at risk. 

“It was all really about to fall to the ground,” he said. “The assessment was that either the Indians got that concession or there was no agreement.” 

Sebastian Mernild, a climate researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, said he was disappointed by the lack of binding targets and global deadlines in the plan, but said it was nonetheless “a step in the right direction”, particularly the requirement that signatories to the Paris Agreement must tighten their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of 2022.

“It’s good that this thing with fossil fuels has got in,” he added. “It’s a pity that you don’t have to phase them out, but only reduce.”

He said the test of whether the Glasgow meeting is a success or failure would not come until the various aspects of the plan are approved and implemented by members states.