UNESCO wants alternative Dresden bridge plan

25th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

25 June 2007, Dresden, Germany (dpa) - Georg Milbradt, premier of Germany's Saxony state, criticized on Monday UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, saying its demand for a halt in a bridge-building project lacked respect for democracy. The committee, meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, had Monday warned the eastern German state that it had until October 1 to submit an alternative plan for a river crossing 4 kilometres east of the city of Dresden. The "heavy" Waldschloesschen Bridge would mar the park-like,

25 June 2007

Dresden, Germany (dpa) - Georg Milbradt, premier of Germany's Saxony state, criticized on Monday UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, saying its demand for a halt in a bridge-building project lacked respect for democracy.

The committee, meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, had Monday warned the eastern German state that it had until October 1 to submit an alternative plan for a river crossing 4 kilometres east of the city of Dresden.

The "heavy" Waldschloesschen Bridge would mar the park-like, 20-kilometre-long Elbe Valley heritage site, it said. The site is an ensemble of palaces, gardens, vineyards and meadows including inner-city Dresden.

Milbradt, who has defied German conservationists and a majority on Dresden's city council, said a majority of city residents had voted in a 2005 referendum for the bridge to relieve road congestion.

Both sides lobbied UNESCO delegates in Christchurch, while the German federal government has stayed above the fray. Milbradt called the outcome a "disappointment."

"Democratic decision-making, a highly rated criterion in UNESCO rules, has been completely ignored," he said in a statement released by his office. Milbradt was travelling on Monday in China.

The premier said UNESCO should wait till after the bridge had been built to decide if it would remove the Valley from its heritage list: "Then members of the Committee can then come here and make up their own minds."

Lutz Vogel, acting mayor of Dresden, hailed the deadline. He said on MDR radio it offered a breathing space for the city and state to re-assess their conflict over whether to redesign the crossing.

DPA

Subject: German news

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