Court hears case against clearing of Hambach Forest to protect bat species
dpa / Aachener Nachrichten
A court in the western German city of Cologne has started to hear a case by NGO Friends of the Earth (BUND) against the clearing of the embattled Hambach Forest, news agency dpa reports in an article carried by the Aachener Nachrichten. The NGO has sued the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) for giving the green light to energy company RWE to clear the ancient woodland that has become a symbolic place for climate activists as BUND regards the Hambach Forest as an important sanctuary for a bat species that is protected under European environmental law.
In late 2018, BUND achieved a temporary halt of clearing operations after a lower court admitted its complaint, forcing energy company RWE to put its expansion plans for a nearby open pit lignite mine on hold. The Hambach Forest repeatedly made headlines in 2018 as authorities in NRW attempted to remove climate activists who had held out in self-made tree houses for several years. The court decision to stop clearing operations came after thousands of anti-coal protesters from all over the country flocked to the woodland to call for more rigorous climate action in Germany.