Philosopher András Lányi makes last-ditch effort to stop mobile dam project

August 7, 2017

Philosopher, writer and environmentalist András Lányi and other experts are working on an alternative plan for the proposed mobile dam system on Budapest’s so-called Roman bank (Római part) in order to save the city’s last natural Danube beach, reports daily Magyar Nemzet.

Lányi and his team are to present their plans to the capital’s General Assembly to relocate the mobile dam system by the end of August. Budapest Fidesz-KDNP Mayor István Tarlós allegedly gave Lányi a chance to present his alternative so as to avoid publicized protests against the project similar to the ones taking place in City Park against the Liget museum quarter plan.

“We are working to avail ourselves of the opportunity personally provided by Mayor István Tarlós regarding the case of the planned mobile dam on the Római part,” Lányi told Magyar Nemzet.

He is working together with hydrologists, architects and landscape architects to draw up a coherent alternative to the current plans they argue would irreversibly change the landscape of the Római part. Lányi stressed that this is the final opportunity to stop the construction works with a grounded study plan.

“One should not only think about tree-cutting but also about filling up the coast and constructing a slope that would amount to the eradication of the Római part’s complete wildlife.” he said. “Whatever authors of the plan have stated so far, they have omitted the most important element from the center of their ideas: the human. The planned investment, which was accepted by the capital’s General Assembly this April, and whose final costs are still unknown, ceases the connection between the river and the coast and by doing causes inestimable damages.” The fervent environmentalist added that he and his associates had been working for years on a comparative study of two possible routes for the mobile dam, but that the final study was of poor quality, many of its arguments having been refuted by renowned experts since its publication.

Construction works of the mobile dam system are scheduled to start this autumn. However, NGOs, Ligetvédők (Park Protectors) and various Facebook groups have already vowed to obstruct construction as they did in the Városliget (City Park). Meanwhile, center-left parties Együtt (Together) and Dialogue for Hungary (PM) announced their intention on Thursday to initiate a referendum to stop the mobile dam project. They anticipate the signature collection might start in October and the actual referendum could be held around the time of next year’s general election.

The Budapest General Assembly decided to erect a mobile dam system on the shores of North Buda supposedly to prevent flood damage. The project was halted in 2015 due to changes in the law and new plans had to be prepared. The final plan, which was accepted in June, provided for the removal of some 400 trees along the Római part. The project has been attacked by NGOs, environmentalists and opposition parties since its announcement. Opponents say it would irreversibly change the landscape of the beach that environmentalists say is the last natural one in Budapest.