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COPENHAGEN

Party demands new environmental scrutiny of Copenhagen artificial island project

Lynetteholmen, a major artificial island project intended to eventually protect Copenhagen from rising sea levels and provide thousands of homes, faces a potential loss of political backing after a party said it wanted to reassess environmental implications of the construction.

Party demands new environmental scrutiny of Copenhagen artificial island project
Foundation work on the Lynetteholmen project near Copenhagen earlier this year. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti, SF) said on Tuesday that it wants a thorough investigation of the consequences of Lynetteholmen for the environment as a condition for its ongoing political support for the project.

The party’s transport spokesperson Anne Valentina Berthelsen said in a Facebook post that without the environmental assessment, “we can quite simply no longer support the project”.

Specifically, SF wants an assessment of environmental consequences to supplement existing studies related to outcomes of the project.

Berthelsen also said that SF wants an independent group of researchers and others to find any errors or omissions and to propose possible solutions to these.

The spokesperson said that the project has seen a number of scandals, citing earlier reports that waste from early construction was dumped in nearby Køge Bay, as well as potential reduction of water flow in the area.

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The SF spokesperson said she hoped to pressure transport minister Trine Bramsen to act on the issue.

“This is the last chance. For SF, this is a demand that must be met with. Otherwise, we are out of the agreement. So the minister must make an assessment of whether it is worth [agreeing to an investigation],” she wrote in the Facebook post.

In a written comment to news wire Ritzau, Bramsen said that requests and comments on the project could be raised in the group that signed for the project, of which SF is part.

“SF is, like everyone else, more than welcome to make suggestions and requests in relation to the strategic environmental assessment. That’s the whole point of [committee meetings],” she said.

An SF withdrawal from the project would not necessarily result in its failure, because enough other parties are in support to give it an overall majority.

Should other groups follow the left-wing group out of the agreement, however, the plan could struggle to receive the ongoing state funding needed to complete it over several decades.

Parliament last year gave the go-ahead to build Lynetteholm, a giant artificial island that will protect Copenhagen’s harbour waters from rising sea levels while also providing homes for 35,000 people.

Although it had a large majority at the time, Thomas Jensen, the Social Democrat MP coordinating the bill, dismissed claims that not enough had been done to assess the environmental consequences of what has been described as the largest construction project in Danish history.

The first new homes will be built by 2035, while Lynetteholmen itself will not be complete until 2070.

The island itself will be built on low-lying land reclaimed from the sea near Refshaleøen north of the capital. 

Meanwhile, a new tunnel under the harbour and a ring road to the east of the city will be constructed as infrastructure is developed.

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FOOD

Denmark to ban caged egg production by 2035

Denmark is to follow a rule banning new cage egg farms from next year with a total ban on the farming method by 2035.

Denmark to ban caged egg production by 2035

In a statement, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries said that is would ban new cage egg farms from next year.

A full ban will come into place following a 12-year transitional period to “ensure proper conversion of production”, the ministry said.

“We wanted to phase out cage eggs as soon as possible. But we have a genuine responsibility to producers of cage eggs,” the agriculture minister, Rasmus Prehn, told news wire Ritzau.

The 12-year transition will avoid instances of expropriation by giving farmers time to fund and make the switch, according to Prehn.

Supermarket Lidl chose to remove cage eggs from its shelves as long ago as 2015, according to broadcaster DR. Other supermarket chains including Coop and Dansk Supermarked have since followed that decision, meaning most supermarkets in Denmark no longer stock eggs from hens in cages.

The EU banned battery cages in 2012, but hens can still be kept in larger cages, termed “enriched” or “furnished” cages, for the production of eggs, in line with the EU directive that banned battery production.

Production of cage eggs in Denmark has fallen from 61 percent of total egg production in 2010 to 13 percent in 2021, according to DR.

That is an underestimate in comparison to the ministry press release, which states that seven producers of cage eggs in Denmark were responsible for 17 percent of Denmark’s total egg production last year.

While most supermarkets have stopped selling cage eggs, they are still often used by restaurants, catering businesses, food factories and pharmaceutical companies, the ministry states.

“Cage hens live – as the name suggests – their whole lives in small cages with limited space to flap their wings. Denmark is in many ways a forefront country within agriculture, and this must also be the case when it comes to animal welfare,” Prehn said in the press statement.

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