HomeDanish PoliticsAarhus Municipality Faces Criticism: External Investigation into Harbor Expansion Project

Aarhus Municipality Faces Criticism: External Investigation into Harbor Expansion Project

Aarhus Municipality under fire: External investigation to uncover errors in harbor expansion project

After the Planning Appeals Board last week halted the planned expansion of Aarhus Harbor, an external investigation will now uncover what went wrong in Aarhus Municipality’s management of the project. This was announced by Alderman for Technology and Environment, Nicolaj Bang (K), at a press conference on Monday. Nicolaj Bang acknowledged at the press conference that mistakes had been made in the municipality’s handling of the harbor expansion and highlighted the need for the investigation to be conducted externally to ensure independence and credibility. “We must acknowledge that mistakes have been made in Technology and Environment. I have asked the negotiating committee for permission to conduct an external investigation, so that we are not the ones conducting the investigation,” he stated according to TV2 East Jutland.

The final decision from the Planning Appeals Board cannot be appealed to another administrative authority. The expansion plan, adopted in June 2023, included an expansion of the harbor by 43 hectares, equivalent to over 60 soccer fields. There were also plans for a further expansion of 36 hectares in the future. However, the plans have faced significant opposition from the local population, including the Danish Society for Nature Conservation in Aarhus, residents who breed mussels in the area, as well as several local associations and political parties such as the Alternative in the East Jutland Constituency.

Nicolaj Bang emphasized that the external investigation is necessary to restore trust in the municipality’s systems and advisory bodies. “There is a need for us to have a clearer view of whether we had the necessary planning expertise and overview in the organization, and what the background was for the decisions we made. We need to dig a little deeper into the matter so we can improve. We need to look at our organization and competencies in that light,” he explained in a press release.

Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard (S) also expressed his dissatisfaction with the formal errors that have been made in the process. “It is highly regrettable and very unsatisfactory that we are in a situation where we have made quite obvious formal errors in the process,” he said according to Ã…rhus Stiftstidende. However, Bundsgaard emphasized that the municipality still has plans for an expansion of Aarhus Harbor, but that the negotiating committee in the city council now needs to “revisit a local plan.”

Read the danish version here

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