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Bavaria: Alpine Convention makes court appearance

The Alps as a backdrop for golfers: will the continual nibbling away of the German Alps soon come to an end? © Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung

The constitutional court of Bavaria has received a complaint against the classification of land for development demanding, for the first time, compliance with the Alpine Convention. The court ruling could significantly change how the Alps are protected in Bavaria.
A hotel, a golf course, a hall for a cattle market. The protected "hedged landscape" area near Miesbach is constantly being eroded by the issue of special permits by local authorities, with 20 pieces lost in the past two decades. The "Bavarian Paradise", as the hedged landscape is also known, has for 57 years been subject to protective regulation, which states that no changes may be made that might harm the landscape or nature.
Now Miesbach resident Charlie Brutscher has filed a complaint with the Bavarian constitutional court in which he refers to the Alpine Convention and, in particular, its nature protection protocol. Article 11 provides that protected areas must be maintained, cared for and, where necessary, extended and that the contracting parties - in this case Germany - must do everything to avoid their "harm and destruction". Brutscher's invocation of the Alpine Convention sets a precedent in Germany: environmental groups have so far been reluctant to demand adherence to the Convention as it contains no provision for concrete sanctions.
Initially, on 8 August, the Bavarian constitutional court did not publicly confer on the complaint. Should it find for the lawyer acting for the "Bavarian Paradise", the continual nibbling away of the German Alps will come to an end. Projects have already been shelved in neighbouring Tyrol because the courts there have ruled that they were in clear violation of the Alpine Convention.
Source and further information: www.br.de/fernsehen/bayerisches-fernsehen (de), www.sueddeutsche.de/bayern (de)