Will Bratislava swallow the Green Belt?

Unfortunately, we have heard some bad news from Slovakia where the EGB is facing a crucial test: City planners of Bratislava want to extend the city as close to the border with Austria as possible, which means that the Green Belt section would largely disappear on the Slovakian side. The construction of the new "Nesto" district shall begin as early as 2021.

Donau-Auen Hainburg Bratislava © Robert Hofrichter

In light of the advanced stage of the development plan the project seems inevitable, and so does the resulting degradation of the quality of nature and life in the region. Should this scenario become true, it must be a lesson to us at least. So, the Austrian League for Nature Conservation appeals: With intensified bilateral cooperation, projects on both sides of the borders must be comprehensively and critically examined through the application of cross-border environmental impact assessments in order to preserve the Green Belt’s nature and living quality.

"Nesto" is only the first concrete infrastructure project in the region and in many other places along the European Green Belt. The Austrian League for Nature Conservation therefore calls on the Green Belt neighbours to learn from the misguided spatial planning in the Nesto case: future development plans within this unique transnational green corridor must be drawn up in harmony with living quality and nature conservation aims - cross-border, jointly and with foresight.

After all, it was only last summer that Austria’s Environment Minister and the Provincial Councils jointly emphasised the importance of the European Green Belt in the "Illmitz Declaration" and agreed to work together and across borders to protect and sustainably develop this unique natural space.