Battle for the Berounka

The third reading of an amendment proposed by MP Jana Krutáková, for the River Berounka to be removed from the list of usable waterways intended for canalisation, was put to the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday 6 March. The amendment to the Act on Inland Navigation was approved by the Chamber of Deputies, but did not pass a Senate vote on 3 May and was returned. Should the Senate approve the amendment and the President sign it, the River Berounka will be removed from the list of waterways with potential transport significance. In spite of ratification by the Chamber of Deputies, the Ministry of Transport does not yet consider the matter to be closed and is trying to ensure that the flow of water is canalised in the future. 

Save the Berounka

This is the only explanation to be drawn from a letter that reached representatives of self-governments in the concerned municipalities at the end of March. In this the company Sweco Hydroprojekt a.s. referred to the initiation of an analysis entitled “Verification of the economic effectiveness of the scope and form of potential canalisation of the River Berounka”. The contracting entity in this case is Ředitelství vodních cest (Directorate of Waterways), promoted by the Ministry of Transport itself.

Should the Senate ratify the law and it is signed by the President, the demands of the City of Prague, Prague city districts, municipalities and towns in the Central Bohemia region, which have long been against the proposed encroachments on the landscape and the construction of large-scale water works, will have been heard. The Berounka has until now been classified as a waterway of transport significance from the 37th river kilometre to the port of Radotín and under Act No. 114/1995 Coll., on inland navigation, the investor, meaning the Ministry of Transport and the Directorate of Waterways, must push through the canalisation of the water flow. 

Save the BerounkaThe canalisation of the Berounka would require the construction of large-scale water works – weirs and sluices. Apart from deepening the bed along a section of the river from Beroun to Radotín of around 40 km and regulating the riverbed, two new weirs would be built, several locks, the weir in Karlštejn would be raised and a navigation channel would be built in the river floodplain at Lipence and Dolní Černošice. 

Representatives of the self-government units that lie along the potential waterway and that were involved in the “Save the Berounka” campaign in May 2018 (Prague 16, Lipence, Velká Chuchle, Zbraslav, Černošice, Hlásná Třebaň and Zadní Třebaň) therefore met at Zbraslav on 16 April, together with Institut pro plánování a rozvoj hlavního města Prahy (the Institute for Planning and Developing the City of Prague), delegates from the Ministry of Transport, the Directorate of Waterways and Sweco Hydroprojekt a.s. A project engineer from the latter presented the three main thematic parts of the canalisation of the Berounka project – a marketing analysis, the proposed technical design and an economic appraisal. 

Mayors presented a host of counter-arguments and specific remarks during the discussion. “The analysis project submission is fundamentally lacking an evaluation of the values and functions of the landscape and an appraisal of the effects of the plans on the environment,” explained Karel Hanzlík, Mayor or Radotín and one of those in attendance at the meeting, before providing a specific argument: “The construction of a weir in Radotín, for example, would significantly change the character of the river and would have a negative impact on the recently-completed anti-flood protection in Šárovo kolo, leading to re-swelling and raising of the level of groundwater and as a result a worsening of flood situations”.

Other fundamental arguments were directed at the insufficient infrastructure and the fact that municipalities would have a higher tourist burden, meaning higher costs on maintaining public order for the concerned self-government units. The representatives of municipalities and city districts therefore continue in their opposition to the plan to canalise the Berounka and other activities leading to any canalisation. Last, but not least, the mayors consider this project to be uneconomical use of public funds in light of the status of consideration of the amendment to the law. Given that remarks on the study are not binding, it was agreed that the municipalities and city districts would keep up-to-date with the progress of the project and would be able to express their views in comments procedure. The concept of the project should be readied and presented at joint discussions at the end of June.

Vloženo: 04.06.2019 – Eva Javorská ; Přečteno 1766 x