Verdict of the Parkschützer [Park Protectors] on the fourth day of the Stuttgart 21 fact check/mediation process
Stuttgart, 12 November 2010: The alternative project "Kopfbahnhof 21 (K21)" ["Terminus Station 21"] was the subject of the fourth day of talks about Stuttgart 21.
Credibility and trustworthiness of Deutsche Bahn and political advocates of Stuttgart 21 called into question
During the previous (third) mediation session, DB showed a video taken at Stuttgart's Bad Cannstatt station which was intended to demonstrate that train stopping times of less than a minute are feasible. During the fourth session, the opponents of Stuttgart 21 showed a video taken at Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof which proved that, at peak times, 5 minutes are necessary in order to allow passengers to board and alight from a regional train (at 10:43). Boris Palmer (Green party transport expert) described this tactic of DB as a "deliberate smokescreen" (10:48). Mediator Heiner Geissler made it clear that he had no objections to this expression and that he agreed with Palmer. Geissler went on to ask the DB to provide complete information in future as "credibility and trust" were at stake (10:52).
DB searches desperately for arguments against K21 and gets caught up in contradictions
At 13:45 legal expert Kirchberg complained that the K21 plans failed to consider that the station approaches were an important biotope and that this could become an obstacle to receiving planning approval (this biotope would be completely covered with concrete if the S21 plans were implemented).
This level of reasoning eventually caused Geissler to say "oh, just stop now, will you?" at 16:20.
The S21 advocates repeatedly complained that K21 would necessitate noise abatement measures on existing rail routes. Then, at 16:40 Frau Gönner came out with the remark that noise was the biggest problem for the population of Baden-Württemberg.
Flexibility of K21
DB and the representatives of the regional government constantly called for the definitive version of K21 until an annoyed Geissler pointed out that flexibility was the essence of the K21 concept (14:25). (Flexibility = progression of the project in gradual stages which can be implemented independently of each other in line with requirements)
Cost of modernising the terminus station
After the Stuttgart 21 advocates had continually raised the spectre of enormous costs involved in modernising the terminus station and all its approaches, Palmer (15:12) presented figures which DB Netz had submitted to the Bundestag in 2009 and which put the required level of funding at 340 million EUR up to 2020 and at one billion EUR from 2020 to 2054.
The message of day 4
Deutsche Bahn board member Kefer summed up the message of the day's discussions: the only aspects of the alternative concept K21 that would still need to be addressed were costs, planning approval and the timeframe (17:04).
Verdict of the senior administrative court (VGH)
After this conclusion by Kefer, environment and transport minister Gönner cited the verdict of the Mannheim senior administrative court in 2006 (http://bit.ly/cCqBJc) in order to prove the legality of S21 yet again. On hearing this, Geissler observed that this continuous pointing to legality was the reason everyone was now participating in the fact-check/mediation sessions (17:29).
Although it was not the role of the VGH, the verdict included a recommendation that S21 was to be preferred over the then version of K21 (2006). It should be pointed out, however, that all three expert witnesses who were consulted in order to reach the verdict were commissioned by the DB; the plaintiffs could not commission their own expert witnesses for cost reasons. It is particularly noteworthy that, in the course of this case, Prof. Heimerl assessed and reported on his own plans as an expert witness.
Dates of the next fact check/mediation sessions
Friday, 19.11. 10:00 -17:00
Saturday, 20.11. 10:00 - 13:00
Contacts in the event of queries: Matthias von Herrmann, Press Officer of the Parkschützer, Tel. +49 (0)174-7497868 or Carola Eckstein, Tel. +49 (0)1525-3684818 or Fritz Mielert, Tel. +49 (0)176-66681817
Press releases and background information / Press portal: www.parkschuetzer.org/presse
Online: www.bei-abriss-aufstand.de and twitter.com/AbrissAufstand and www.parkschuetzer.org