Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme

The authors are solely responsible for the content of this report. Material included herein does not represent the opinion of the European Community, and the European Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of it.
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Development / implementation of a new communication concept


by Manfred Meine, Kirsten Wolfstein, Jörn Gutbrod and Johanna Knüppel

2b. 2. Communication Concept - Planning approval phase

After completing the documents and directly prior to requesting the planning approval, two meetings with non-governmental organisations (NGO´s) for nature conservation, that later on in the approval phase had to be consulted anyway, were arranged. During these meetings again the overall details of the project and the design were explained, and the NGO’s were asked for their agreement. Although this way of acting is normally unusual in planning approval processes it was a great concern of the planners to convince the NGO’s of the project´s aims and to point out the mutual benefits of the measure both for the favourable impact on the tidal action and on nature conservation issues. This was considered crucial for the minimisation of objections to the approval. After initial scepticism this procedure indeed was appreciated by the NGO’s. By acting so “historical” antagonisms between river engineers and conservationists were broken up and a new basis for a future dialogue between the port authority and nature conservation organisations was created.
When due to legal reasons a project delay was unavoidable both neighbours and NGO´s were informed on facts and reasons by individual mail.

In the planning approval phase, HPA tried to identify and to solve potential problems that could possibly raise or could lead to difficulties in a later phase. For their detection and solution again a close contact to the local stakeholders was established. One example for this cooperation was the case of a pair of sea eagles in search of a nesting site. HPA brought together the local conservation association, the nature conservation authority and the environmental planning company that worked for the project, to a field visit. Subsequently a solution that took into account both local sensitivities as well as legal requirements was worked out. In this case a nest for the sea eagles was built in a proper site not far from the measure area in order to prevent them from searching for a breeding opportunity directly on the building site.

Accompanying to the planning approval the local inhabitants were kept informed on the status of the project via information leaflets that were distributed in the vicinity of the project area.

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