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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

 

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ENVIRONMENT

Copenhagen to miss 2025 zero emissions target

Copenhagen will not reach its longstanding target of becoming CO2 emissions neutral by 2025.

Cyclists on Copenhagen's
Cyclists on Copenhagen's "Lille Langebro" bridge. The Danish capital has admitted to errors in emissions calculations and says it won't be climate neutral in 2025, a long-standing target. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

A city councillor told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the city, which has long stated its aim of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital, would not meet that target as scheduled.

“I won’t need to stand there in 2025 and say ‘hurrah, we’re CO2 neutral’, because I know that CO2 will still be emitted (then),” elected representative Ninna Hedeager Olsen of the Copenhagen Municipality environment section told Jyllands-Posten.

Tourist board Visit Denmark has previously used the emissions goal to market the city, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen named the target during the C40 climate summit when it was hosted by Copenhagen in 2019.

But the municipality has included wind energy produced in other municipalities in its calculations on energy sustainability, according to the newspaper report.

This means it effectively still emits CO2 overall.

The company which supplies energy to the city, Hofor, has erected windmills in a number of municipalities outside of Copenhagen. But the electricity produced by these windmills has been used in calculations of CO2 emissions in both Copenhagen and in the municipalities in which the windmills are actually located.

The replication of the energy production in data for different locations can “rightly” be said to be “cheating the scales”, according to Hedeager Olsen.

But that is not the only problem in calculations of the city’s emissions, she also admitted.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been counted,” she said.

The goal to become climate neutral by 2025 was first set by the city in 2012 in a climate plan adopted by the city government.

Copenhagen was the following year awarded the Cities Climate Leadership award for the plan.

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