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Greenpeace to sue Hungary over Unesco protected lake construction project

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By Beatrix Asboth  & Clemence Waller
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Greenpeace to sue Hungary over Unesco protected lake construction project
Copyright  Sopron-Fertő Tourism Development Nonprofit Zrt

Environmental protection agency, Greenpeace is planning to sue the Hungarian government over a controversial development project it has put up for tender.

They claim that it threatens a lake recognised as a Unesco world heritage site. Lake Ferto, or Lake Neusiedl, (as known to the Austrians) is the largest endorheic lake in Central Europe, straddling the Austrian–Hungarian border.

Last December, Sopron-Fertő Tourism Development Nonprofit Ltd. withdrew their original tender to build a yacht port and hotels at the Lake. However, on Christmas Eve, a second call was issued by the government, for an even larger development project.

The new plans aim to build two motels, a visitor centre with a restaurant, and two giant swimming pools amongst others.

The winning bidder will have 36 months to complete the project.

Greenpeace plans to sue the government, saying the second tender is more problematic than the first one.

Katalin Rodics from Greenpeace explains the reason for their legal challenge,

"Because the areas that have been tendered for in the public procurement for individual elements, are larger areas than in the original environmental permit that we (Greenpeace) were challenging, and plus there are new elements such as a 26-apartment building for which there is no environmental or building permit at all."

Hungarian and international nature conservation and heritage protection organisations have consistently opposed construction projects on the site