Soil Strategy: State Decision No Decision for Green

Upper Austria's regional planning councilor Markus Achleitner (ÖVP) invited all sectoral colleagues from the federal states to a “conference” in Linz. All nine federal states have decided on a land strategy in the sense of a sustainable spatial planning policy. It is characterized by “reason and pragmatism” and not by “ideological castles in the air”, Achleitner said – more on this at ooe.ORF.at. The justification for going it alone is that “ÖROK is an association without constitutional competences”, which is for states responsible for implementing spatial planning.

Vice-Chancellor Gogler insisted, “No meeting has taken place and no decision has been taken.” The Land Strategy, not yet implemented, is a strategy of the ÖROK, in which states, municipalities and the central government are represented. Consensus applies. But the Association of States and Municipalities rejects a binding target of limiting land consumption to 2.5 hectares per day by 2030.

ÖVP to “balance interests”.

States have now gone it alone without the aforementioned 2.5 hectare requirement. “An absolute number does not protect one hectare of soil,” Lower Austria's Deputy Governor Stefan Bernkopf (ÖVP) said at a press conference after the “Linz Conference”. All countries will start implementing the strategy following the motto “Conserve Earth and Enable the Future”. In other words, there must be a balance of interests between conservation of natural areas and economic development.

IMAGO/SEPA.Media/Martin Juen

Minister Todschnik is pleased with the decision, Vice-Chancellor Kogler has not made any decisions

The Soil Conservation Strategy has four general goals: conservation of open land and grasslands, prevention of urban sprawl, efficient internal development and intensification of awareness and public relations for better utilization of suitable building land in the settlement area. Work.

A technical paper prepared for ÖROK does not contain any concrete figures; The 2.5 hectare target, already set in the federal government's sustainability strategy in 2002, was demanded by the Greens last year because there should also be a measurable indicator.

Totschnig: “Bipartisan Consensus”

Agriculture Minister Dotschnik commented on the state's decision as follows: “It is gratifying that there is now a non-partisan consensus among the actors responsible for spatial planning for the First Austrian Soil Strategy. With a list of concrete steps to implement, this decision is an important milestone in the careful use of our valuable land.

A year ago, the minister said the land strategy “can only succeed if it is in the context of all the actors involved, the central government, states, municipalities, cities and associations of municipalities”. The Greens have been harshly critical. “With fake news in front of the media,” Achleitner is celebrating “the end of a toothless paper tiger,” Green Party general secretary Olga Voglauer said. “Sunday speeches and lip service” will benefit no one.

Harsh criticism from WWF and Greenpeace

WWF soil conservation spokesman Simon Boris said: “Today's meeting shows once again why Austria has been unable to bring soil erosion under control for years. Without a real political commitment to concrete measures and a sustainable ceiling on land consumption, urban sprawl and destruction of nature will continue unabated.

Greenpeace also criticized the Upper Austrian Regional Planning Council in a report. It engages in soil conservation activities for several months and continues to prevent a certain limit of soil consumption. However, legally, “as a state councillor, he cannot make a decision on soil strategy and thereby ignore the structure of the Austrian Spatial Planning Convention,” said Greenpeace soil protection spokeswoman Melanie Ebner.

NEOS spoke of a “historically bad day” for Upper Austria soil conservation. “The ruthless concreters have won in the federal states,” said club president Felix Eibeldauer. NEOS MP Karin Toppelbauer said a strategy without concrete goals and limits is not effective.

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