The figures in the latest tender for the public works contract at Lake Fertő (Lake Neusiedl), which was “sneakily” reopened on Christmas Eve, don’t add up, claims the environmental protection organization Greenpeace. According to the green NGO, the document published on December 24 specifies even larger dimensions for certain elements than in previous permits, and even lists new buildings for which the state-owned company does not have a permit. Greenpeace has again appealed the public tender.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
As we previously reported, state-owned Sopron-Fertő Tourism Development Nonprofit Ltd. is planning a state-funded investment project on some 60 hectares in the Fertő-Hanság National Park, a World Heritage Site. Plans include a sports hall, a football field with artificial turf, 16 residential buildings, a 100-room hotel, a parking lot for 880 cars, a multi-story visitor center, a motel, a campground, and a marina for 850 sailboats and 400 rowboats. The project would take more land away from the reed beds and the Fertő riverbed than before, multiplying the tourist pressure on the environment, and according to environmentalists, seriously damage the lake’s flora and fauna. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences has also expressed serious concerns about the project.
After it emerged that the project’s tender was opened again on December 24, and that among other things, larger buildings than permitted were being planned, the Hungarian chapter of Greenpeace has again challenged the public tender and is once again calling on the government to stop the project immediately, as in their opinion it is “illegal” and will destroy nature to an extraordinary extent.
The state company has also changed the wording of the new tender, Greenpeace claims, deleting the following justification: “The construction works should be accelerated to avoid the habitat being reclaimed by wildlife.” The numbers are also different than before: they are well above the permitted dimensions, with Greenpeace claiming that each detail is larger than the area covered by the previous permit. In addition, the 26 apartment buildings, one bathhouse, and about 150 beach pavilions included in the tender have not received approval. The NGO claims that until the court case on the environmental permits is concluded, a new public procurement process could not be launched anyway.
For the past year and a half, non-governmental organizations have been protesting what they consider to be an “oversized” project. More than twenty-four thousand people have signed the petition of the locals, and just as many people have joined a German-language version of the petition from the Austrian side of the lake. The non-governmental organizations want the state to replace what they see as a nature-destroying project with a small-scale tourist development that takes into account the lake’s natural features and protects its wildlife, and for the remaining money to be used for conservation projects.
Featured photo illustration via Pixabay