Hungary’s highest court the Curia has ruled that a referendum can be held on the construction of a mobile dam at Budapest’s iconic Római beach, 444.hu reports.
The Curia’s Tuesday ruling overturns a decision reached by the Budapest Election Commission (FVB) in August which stated that no referendum could be held because, according to municipal law, flood protection is the duty of the council within the area of Budapest and cannot be left to a vote. This ruling is now invalidated and a procedure for holding a referendum may go forward.
The local referendum which challenges the route of the dam was initiated by Dialogue for Hungary (PM) board member and Budapest 3rd district council member András Béres, and president of Együtt’s (Together) Budapest chapter Márton Pataki. The aim of the referendum is to make the Budapest City Council abolish its April resolution ordering the establishment of a dam at Római beach.
The referendum question rejected by the FVB, and now approved by the Curia, reads:
“Do you agree that the Budapest General Assembly must abolish its 229/2017. (IV.5.) resolution about the track of the flood protection facilities securing the Csillaghegy bay area?”
Opponents of the planned track of the dam argue that it would irrevocably damage the character of one of Budapest’s last natural beach areas, and would require the cutting down of some 400 trees. Hydrologists, environmentalists and engineers have also argued that the dam as planned would be ineffective, and recommend an alternative track further inland along Királyok and Nánási streets.