How do you prevent mishaps in landfills

Resistance to the landfill

Actually, the topic should come back on the agenda at the district assembly on March 25th. But a letter from the trade inspectorate causes a stir, so that the topic will probably be postponed again.
District Administrator Hermann Luttmann speaks of a “renewed glitch in the approval process”, which he takes as an opportunity to talk to Environment Minister Olaf Lies. Specifically, it is about a - according to Luttmann - probably negligible change in relation to the drainage concept.
"Unreasonable demand for the district council"
But the way in which the district council is treated by the Ministry of the Environment and the trade inspectorate is an impertinence, says Marco Prietz. After having dealt with over 70 pages of documents in the past three and a half weeks to check the agreement under water law, the trade inspectorate is now sending an additional letter a week before the district council meeting, which contradicts the letter from the Ministry of the Environment. “At first it is said that the content of the plans has not been changed, now the opposite is reported. At the same time, the district council should continue to give the agreement at short notice. It doesn't work like that, ”says Prietz. Against the background of the situation, the district council could under no circumstances issue a water law agreement.
BI founded ten years ago
This renewed delay should play into the hands of BI. The population has been concerned with this topic for ten years now. In the spring of 2011, the residents of the communities of Selsingen and Anderlingen were startled by the display of planning documents for a waste dump with contaminated rubble in the Feldmark between Haaßel and Anderlingen. As a result, the Haassel Citizens' Initiative (BI) was founded.
In your opinion, is there a solution that would satisfy both sides?
Walter Lemmermann (WL): “Of course. An orderly location search procedure for a location with better framework conditions like in Haaßel. The company Kriete Kaltrecycling GmbH may then also be happy to carry out the operation. A suitable location would not have to be laboriously piled up, as in this case, in order to guarantee a seal against the groundwater. It would have expansion options that are not available in Haaßel and could be more easily accessible for delivery traffic. So advantages for the protected natural area in Haaßel and advantages for the operating company.
You just have to get away from planning from the last century, when nature conservation was not yet included in the decisions, and get creative. Here is the new generation of politicians around Marco Prietz, Dr. Marco Mohrmann and Eike Holsten called for. They should prove that they want to create and not just manage. Otherwise they would only tolerate the mistakes of the past and thus share responsibility. "
Marco Prietz (MP): “Such a compromise would be desirable, but unfortunately it no longer seems to be possible. The citizens' initiative categorically rejects a landfill site in Haaßel. The company Kriete, on the other hand, is still striving for approval from the trade supervisory authority of the State of Lower Saxony on the basis of their application from 2011. "
Hermann Luttmann (HL): “In 2011 I proposed the construction of the landfill outside the nature reserve, but still on the site of the much larger domestic waste landfill that was approved in 1995. Unfortunately, there was no approval for this. In the meantime I no longer see the chance of an amicable solution. "
Do you consider the construction of this landfill in the Rotenburg district to be necessary? What are the alternatives?
WL: “There are no reliable data on the specific accumulation of contaminated building rubble in the Rotenburg district. Nevertheless, BI believes that it is necessary to deal responsibly with this waste by dumping it in the right location. A location search procedure should be carried out that could also be carried out jointly with neighboring districts, with transparent selection criteria. This is the only way to ensure acceptance.
The procedure surrounding the Gorleben nuclear waste repository has clearly shown that an opaque determination of a location is doomed to failure. After decades of bad planning, a public location search process is now being used. A search process takes longer in the planning phase, but has more chances of being valid after a judicial review. That this is also a decisive factor for the operators can be seen in the many legal proceedings in connection with the planning in Haaßel. "
MP: “It is recognized by all sides that there is a need for class I landfills (“ rubble landfills ”). This applies to Germany, Lower Saxony, the Elbe-Weser region and also the Rotenburg (Wümme) district. Numerous studies are available on this. The landfill applied for in 2011 is fundamentally permissible from the point of view of the courts on the basis of the regulations that were valid at the time and therefore still have to be observed today. The deficiencies in the approval issued by the trade supervisory authority in 2015 (plan approval decision) identified in the judgment of the OVG Lüneburg in 2017 have now probably been remedied by the applicant and the trade supervisory authority. I don't know anyone who seriously expects the landfill to be prevented. "
HL: “Currently, the building rubble from the district is usually disposed of via private waste disposal companies, mainly in Hittfeld in the Harburg district and in Geesthacht in Schleswig-Holstein. Such long transport routes are questionable for reasons of climate protection alone. Due to a similar situation in the neighboring districts, the IHK Stade and the state therefore advocate a landfill in the Elbe-Weser area (waste management plan from August 2019). In the judgment of the Higher Administrative Court of Lüneburg (OVG) of July 2017 on the planning approval decision for the Haaßel construction waste landfill, the need is also affirmed and a comprehensive justification stated that the planned Haaßel landfill can be expected to have sufficient capacity ("plan justification"). "
The district of Stade is planning a landfill on its own. Would this also be an option for the district of Rotenburg?
WL: "Yes. But an interaction with other districts or private operators would also be possible. However, transparency is always important. It must not be about maximizing profits for individuals, but about a comprehensible selection of the location and the operator. Transparency must not be just a catchphrase in the election campaign. Rather, district politics must be measured against it. The claim that decisions are only made in Hanover or Lüneburg is wrong. After 10 years of experience in dialogue with the ministries in Hanover, the BI is aware that there are regular active districts are waiting. The responsibility of whether you want to design or just follow external or private planning lies with the district council and the district administration in Rotenburg. "
MP: "If the Rotenburg district were to start planning the construction of their own landfill, then there would be an additional new landfill in the district in addition to the landfill in Haaßel. The application process that has been running since 2011 by the Kriete company can be changed through new planning elsewhere Of course, one could consider operating the landfill in Haassel as a district. Then, however, a final permit from the trade supervisory authority would also first be required before this permit can be bought from Kriete for a correspondingly high price. For the people in Haassel However, this solution would have no advantages over operation by a private company. The type and scope of the storage of the rubble would not change. "
 HL: "The district has the option of operating a rubble dump itself, if necessary with the participation of (private) third parties. However, this would have to be newly established. The costs for planning, development and construction are likely to be well over 10 million euros today In addition, there would be additional operating and recultivation costs. Refinancing would have to take place via cost-covering fees. For me, however, it is questionable whether the district itself can operate such a facility economically. "
From your point of view, how can a local landfill operation be merged with a nature reserve?
WL: "Everyone must be aware that the operation of a landfill has a significant impact on the entire nature reserve. The need for protection and the need for protection of the natural area have now been legally confirmed. The pollution from dust, noise, landfill operations, artificial light sources and changes in the water balance do not end At the border fence of a landfill. That would be like claiming that street noise could no longer be heard on the footpath. Side by side harms nature and does not help the operator, since there are no expansion options. But, as already mentioned, there are better alternatives that the politically responsible only have to actively address. Not managing the destruction of a nature reserve, but creating alternatives. BI would like to actively participate. "
MP: "The Haaßeler Bruch nature reserve was only designated after the application by Kriete, so that from a legal point of view, landfill planning has priority. That is why the OVG Lüneburg made it clear in its judgment on the NSG ordinance that a nature reserve does not add a landfill afterwards The district council was expressly requested by the court to exempt the landfill in the NSG ordinance, i.e. to allow it to the extent of the application from 2011. The same also applies to attempts to prevent the landfill via the regional spatial planning program.
Ten years after BI was founded, it can therefore be stated that the construction of the landfill in Haaßel can probably not be prevented. What has been achieved, however, is an effective limitation of landfill planning in terms of its size and the substances to be stored there. The very unified appearance of the district council in recent years has also contributed to this. Many suggestions and impulses for this also came from the local citizens' initiative, which was able to limit the effects on nature and people to a certain extent. In retrospect, the earlier decisions by politics and administration up to the year 2011 not only made the construction of a landfill in Haaßel possible, but basically initiated it irreversibly. As someone who was newly elected to the district council in 2016, I had to realize that very quickly. Everything that has been attempted since then through the designation of a nature reserve, corresponding passages in the regional spatial planning program and legal proceedings only led to a temporary delay in the project. It seems to me that all options have gradually been exhausted. This analysis will not please the opponents of the landfill on site, but one should be so honest also and especially in election years. "
HL: "In April 2018, the Lüneburg Higher Administrative Court declared the nature reserve ordinance passed by the district council in December 2014 ineffective in the legal proceedings brought by the Kriete company against the Rotenburg district, because the Rotenburg district had neglected the priority landfill planning - for example through an adequate exemption regulation The new ordinance subsequently adopted by the district council in December 2019 takes this into account by stipulating that the construction and operation of a landfill in accordance with the plan approval decision of January 2015, including possible changes in the plan amendment procedure, is exempt from the provisions of the ordinance is, provided that no additional space is used and the deposited substances are limited to the list of waste applied for. I consider this to be an appropriate balance of interests. "
Overview of developments
Since, according to BI, the planning documents were displayed in 2011 without prior public information, self-organized assemblies took place in Anderlingen and Haassel, which led to the founding of the citizens' initiative against the planned landfill in Haassel (BI). Since then, a steering group of ten people has been taking care of the organization of the resistance to the plans, which is also supported by the local councils in Anderlingen and Selsingen.
In May 2011, a demonstration including a subsequent information event with around 800 participants was organized in Selsingen for the first time. It became clear that the plans apparently could not be approved, as, among other things, planning was carried out on areas that were not accessible to the applying company Kriete Kaltrecycling GmbH.
The planning documents, which were revised up to the renewed display in 2013, led to a planning approval decision by the Lüneburg trade supervisory office in January 2015. This was successfully sued by NABU in close cooperation with BI in 2017 before the Lüneburg Higher Administrative Court. To this day, the company Kriete Kaltrecycling GmbH is working on correcting the warned errors in the process, or is continuing the planning without any reduction.
In the meantime, the “Haaßeler Bruch” nature reserve ordinance has been issued. The planned landfill is located in this nature reserve. The BI has been fighting for the nature reserve for 10 years and is receiving support from the residents of the affected communities.