Darmstadt: Westwald is to become Bannwald

  • ofJens Joachim

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Darmstadt city councilors approve the magistrate’s bill with a large majority. The city parliament also approved the final report with guidelines and recommendations for action from the “Forest Round Table”.

With a large majority, the Darmstadt city council decided on Thursday to designate the forest west of Darmstadt as a ban forest in accordance with the Hessian Forest Act. The Bannwaldzone is to encompass the area between Gräfenhäuser Strasse, the A5 motorway to Eberstadt and up to the western city limits. The Greens, CDU, Volt and the Uffbasse parliamentary group voted for a corresponding municipal bill. A corresponding recommendation is now to be sent to the responsible regional council (RP) Darmstadt. However, the application would not have been necessary because the RP, as the upper forest authority, acts on its own initiative or upon suggestion. A spokesman for the authorities had already explained this at the beginning of the year.

The city parliament also took note of the final report of the “Round Table Forest” and a survey of citizens about the Darmstadt city forest. In addition, the city council also approved the model developed by the round table and the proposed guidelines and recommendations for action in the final report by a large majority. The aim is to gradually improve the currently poor condition of the urban forest, as Environment Secretary Barbara Akdeniz (Greens) explained,

City councilors from the SPD, Left and FDP criticized the fact that, despite the intended designation of the western forest as a bann forest, planned routes for roads, cycle superhighways or the planned southern connection of Darmstadt main station to the planned ICE express train route should be excluded. Environment officer Barbara Akdeniz (Greens) rejected the accusation that the groundwater problem was “neglected” during the round table meetings.

According to Akdeniz, the topic of groundwater was discussed “in detail, well and adequately” in three of the eleven meetings. Investigations had shown that the western forest had “no groundwater connection” since the end of the 1950s.

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