ARCHIV - 31.05.2022, Sachsen, Leipzig: Aktivisten des BUND protestieren vor dem Bundesverwaltungsgericht in Leipzig gegen die Planungen für die A20. Das Bundesverwaltungsgericht in entscheidet an diesem Donnerstag über den Weiterbau der Autobahn in Niedersachsen. Der Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) und mehrere Landwirte klagen gegen das Großprojekt. (zu dpa: "Entscheidung über Weiterbau der Küstenautobahn A20 erwartet") Foto: Hendrik Schmidt/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The planned section of the so-called coastal autobahn 20 between Westerstede and Jaderberg cannot be built for the time being. The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig declared the plan approval decision on Thursday to be illegal and therefore not enforceable. There is currently no guarantee that the construction will not affect the nearby Garnholt conservation area.

The lawsuit brought by the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) was partially successful. The court stated that mistakes had been made when examining the expected nitrogen pollution. According to the original calculation, the whole thing was close. The limit was only complied with if there was a speed limit of 120 kilometers per hour on a section of the A28 nearby.

But then, during the course of the procedure, an error turned out, after the recalculation the nitrogen value had increased. This recalculation was also incorrect, the court now explained. The effect of the planned elimination of a rest area is overestimated here. Authorities and project developers must therefore make improvements.

The court rejected BUND’s other objections. It emphasized that the extension of the A20 was classified as a project of so-called urgent need in the federal transport route plan. This determination of need is binding for the court.

The gigantic construction project is intended to extend the Autobahn from Schleswig-Holstein to Lower Saxony so that, together with the A28, an east-west axis will be created from the German-Polish to the German-Dutch border. It has been controversial for years: environmentalists criticize that the construction of new motorways is the wrong traffic policy and fear for natural areas such as moors on the edge of the planned route.

The Federal Administrative Court pointed out that the section that was decided on Thursday should not lead through Moore. It also explained that it did not have to take the Climate Protection Act into account because it was not yet in force when the plan approval decision was issued.

The Basic Law obliges the state to preserve the natural basis of life. Germany has also joined the Paris Agreement on climate protection and is thus committed to helping to limit climate change. However, no specifications for individual plan approval procedures could be derived from this, the court explained. The complaint of a farmer, who is to be expropriated for the new building, was rejected.

The Lower Saxony BUND state chairwoman Susanne Gerstner said after the verdict that it was an “important partial success of the BUND in the fight against the A20”. Politicians are now “urgently asked to use the court’s red card as an opportunity to review the entire project”.

The Greens in Lower Saxony also welcomed the court decision. Julia Willie Hamburg, parliamentary group leader, demanded: “The traffic light coalition in Berlin must now use the construction freeze to quickly review the outdated federal transport route plan as the previous basis for many senseless motorway projects.”