Planning for the adjustment of the navigation channel and the integrated river engineering concept are to a great extent reducing adverse effects on nature and the environment. These will primarily be caused by the widening of the navigation channel and the underwater deposit area in the Outer Elbe. To compensate for this, along with the dredging of the navigation channel numerous ecological compensation measures will be implemented at a total cost of around 80 million euros. Areas will be re-naturized that have in recent decades been re-fashioned by humans. In the opinion of the Federal government and Hamburg, the negative effects of adjustment of the navigation channel will be wholly compensated for. After scrutinizing all the information, the European Commission also came to the conclusion that the adverse effects will be wholly offset by the planned compensatory measures, and in some cases over-compensated for.
Independently of these project-related compensatory measures, the Lebensraum Elbe Foundation is making a substantial contribution towards the sustainable development of the tidal Elbe as the vital artery for the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The City, Port and natural conservation bodies work together in the Foundation, set up in 2010, to improve the ecological condition of the Elbe. The Foundation is financed by a start-up capital of ten million euros and an annual subsidy consisting of five percent of the annual port dues received by Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). So the Foundation’s income is coupled directly with the development of the port.
The river Elbe
A ship’s environmental balance sheet
The Port of Hamburg lies around 145 kilometres from the Elbe estuary. Sailing along the Elbe prolongs the environment-friendly journey by water and saves costlier land transport runs. Transferring traffic from road to rail and waterways is also especially important in Germany in the light of the beleaguered situation of road traffic. Expansion of the Elbe as a federal waterway relieves road traffic and spares the environment.