Environmentalists fail with lawsuit against further construction of the A49

The further construction of Autobahn 49 has been controversial for years. The environmental protection association BUND took legal action against the project for the second time, but was unsuccessful for the second time.

Striking: Protests before the Federal Administrative Court against the further construction of the A49

Dhe environmental association BUND failed with a lawsuit against the further construction of the A49 in Central Hesse before the Federal Administrative Court. The court in Leipzig dismissed the BUND’s lawsuit and another one from a private property owner on Tuesday evening. (Ref .: BVerwG 9 A 22.19 and 9 A 23.19) The plaintiffs wanted the already final planning approval decision for the section between Stadtallendorf and Gemünden / Felda to be withdrawn or at least suspended. Highway opponents had accompanied the hearing with loud protests in front of the courthouse.

The special feature of the motorway dispute was that the court had already dealt with the planning in 2014. Even then, the federal judges had dismissed the BUND’s action. “The legal effect of this judgment binds both the court and the authorities and cannot be broken easily,” said the presiding judge Wolfgang Bier in the reasoning for the judgment.

Route through a water protection area

The BUND had nevertheless tried to take action against the plans again, because there is now a recent case law of the European Court of Justice on water law. The route leads through a water protection area, which is also important for the drinking water supply of the Rhine-Main area. The association called the project a “planning dinosaur”. The A49 is to connect Kassel with Giessen.

However, the Federal Administrative Court did not consider withdrawing or revoking the plans. They are flawed with regard to the European Water Framework Directive. The German water law is flexible enough to be able to implement the directive in a legally secure manner, said Bier. To suspend the planning approval decision as requested by the plaintiffs, on the other hand, would be disproportionate.

During the oral hearing, the Senate had originally proposed a settlement to the State of Hesse and the plaintiffs. According to this, a so-called water law technical contribution should be able to be created without the project having to be suspended. The BUND lawyer signaled approval, but the representatives of the Hessian Ministry of Transport rejected the proposal.

The critics of the motorway construction protested the whole day in front of the courthouse under the motto “Forest instead of asphalt”. A drum group could be heard several times as far as the courtroom.

The federal judges had one more lawsuit on the table on Tuesday. Three farmers object to the A49 plans because they are threatened with expropriation (BVerwG 9 A 8.19). A decision is to be announced on July 2nd.