The A 20 Elbe Tunnel: The State of Schleswig-Holstein has success before the German Supreme Administrative Court with GvW

The construction of the A 20 Elbe Tunnel near Glückstadt can be continued by Schleswig-Holstein. The German Supreme Administrative Court [Bundesverwaltungsgericht, "BVerwG"] mostly dismissed corresponding complaints against the tunnel project. The judges in Leipzig only found one legal error in the case of two complaints by the environmental protection organizations BUND, NABU and the Landesnaturschutzverband Schleswig-Holstein, but this error can be cured by subsequently involving the public in issues of protection of the waters.

The BVerwG held that the project is reliably financed, satisfies the legal requirements for safety and is compatible with the requirement of protecting nature in a judgment dated 28 April (BVerwG 9 A 7.15; BVerwG 9 A 8.15; BVerwG 9 A 9.15; BVerwG 9 A 10.15; BVerwG 9 A 11.15; BVerwG 9 A 14.15).

The financing of the second longest road tunnel in Germany, in the view of the judges, is secured because the Federal Government has committed to financing using budgeted funds if there is any failure in the private financing.

The safety concept for the double tube road tunnel, which includes monitoring maximum speed, a fire protection and ventilation system, 20 emergency exits and dedicated fire services, appalled scrutiny by the court.

The protective goals of the FFH region "Wetternsystem in der Kollmarer Marsch" and the bird sanctuary "Unterelbe bis Wedel" would not suffer any material adverse impact, just as is the case with the protection of species, so that the court also did not recognize any concerns under the law governing protection of nature.

The two largest hurdles for this billion Euro project crossing the Elbe to the Schleswig-Holstein side have, thus, been eliminated.  The BVerwG only saw an error in the order on the setting of the plan in the context of protection of the waters.  However, the error will be cured by the state publicly displaying the documents on the general water directive.

GvW advised and represented the State of Schleswig-Holstein with a Hamburg team consisting of Dr Ronald Steiling (lead), Dr Dietrich Drömann, Dr Sigrid Wienhues, Saskia Soravia, Corinna Lindau and Sandra Fröhlich.

Key Contact

Dr Tim Nesemann
T +49 89 689077-0