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European Commission - Press release

Environment: Commission refers Germany to Court over coal power plant in Moorburg

Brussels, 26 March 2015

The European Commission is taking Germany to Court over its failure to apply the requirements of the Habitats Directive in relation to the authorisation of a coal power plant in Hamburg/Moorburg. The project in question risks having a negative impact on a number of protected fish species including salmon, European river lamprey and sea lamprey, which pass near the power plant when migrating from the North Sea to some 30 Natura 2000 sites on the Elbe, upstream of Hamburg. The species are harmed by the water abstraction process used to cool the power plant. When authorising the plant, Germany failed to carry out an appropriate assessment as required by the Directive, and to assess alternative cooling processes which could avoid the killing of the protected species concerned.

Germany was sent a reasoned opinion on this matter in November 2014. In view of its continuing refusal to conduct an assessment of viable alternatives, the Commission has decided to launch proceedings against Germany before the Court of Justice of the EU.


For more information

On the March infringement package decisions, see MEMO/15/4666

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12

For more information on infringement procedures:


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