Denmark’s artificial island plan could be beached by lack of sand and gravel

A lack of raw materials such as sand, gravel and earth could prove an obstacle to government plans to build new islands near Copenhagen.

Denmark’s artificial island plan could be beached by lack of sand and gravel
File photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

The warning was made by construction industry organisation Dansk Byggeri and first reported by newspaper Politiken.

“It seems as though the project leaders have forgotten about all the building that is planned for the islands,” the group’s political director Torben Liborius told the newspaper.

The organisation estimates that at least ten new trenches, each the size of 20 football pitches, would need to be dug in order to provide the necessary raw materials.

“That is why it is already necessary at this point to develop a national plan for raw materials in order to secure the necessary building materials,” Liborius said.

Earlier this month, the government and Hvidovre Municipality announced a plan to extend the Avedøre Holme area south of Copenhagen, creating nine new islands to be promoted as a ‘Danish Silicon Valley’.

That followed another major infrastructure initiative announced last autumn, whereby 20,000 new homes will be built on low-lying land reclaimed from the sea near Refshaleøen north of the capital. That development, given the name Lynetteholmen, is scheduled for completion in 2070.

Approximately 25 million cubic meters of sand, gravel and stone will be needed to build the islands, according to Dansk Byggeri.

Those raw materials could be sourced in Denmark, but Liborius said he foresaw political disagreement over where quarries could be dug to source them.

Minister for Food and the Environment Jakob Ellemann-Jensen agreed that an overarching plan for sourcing raw materials was necessary.

“One of the reasons we are proposing the state takes over the task of providing raw materials from regions is that it will allow us to think more long-term, strategically and not to be limited by regional borders,” the minister told Politiken via email.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen to get artificial island and harbour tunnel in ambitious 50-year plan


Copenhagen nature area to be developed as city approves land sale

A part of the Amager Fælled nature area has lost its reserve status and can now be sold to investors, after a majority in the city's municipal council voted in favour of development on Thursday.

Copenhagen nature area to be developed as city approves land sale
Amager Fælled. File photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix

The 219,000 square-kilometre area, known as Lærkesletten, can be sold to developers who wish to build homes on the land, broadcaster TV2 reported.

The sale raises money needed by the city to pay for the new Metro lines, which opened last year, and was part of a political deal agreed in 2017.

City councillors from the Social Democrats, Social Liberals, Liberals, Conservatives, Danish People's Party and two independents voted in favour, while Red-Green Alliance, Alternative and Independent Green parties and one independent opposed.

Located on the southern edge of the natural area on island Amager, the area is frequently used by people from the city for cycling, running and walking.

“We have seen that nature and the environment are at the centre of the public’s perception of what’s important. They want real wild nature in Denmark,” Gorm Anker Gunnarsen, who represents the Red-Green Alliance on the city council, told news agency Ritzau.

An Epinion survey this week showed that 76 percent of people who live in Copenhagen are either partly or completely against development of the area.

Gunnarsen told Ritzau he still believes there is a chance of preserving the nature zone.

“We have the authority to withdraw a building permit in special circumstances,” he said.

An advisory public vote could on the matter provide the basis for this, he argued.

“This case will not then just rest on which party you are with, but also on your view of the individual case,” he said.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen natural area Amager Fælled gets new development plan