Poll: Majority of Budapest citizens oppose mobile dam on beach and want more green areas

August 31, 2017

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Christo

The majority of Budapest citizens oppose the planned shoreline track for a mobile dam on the city’s Római beach and would prefer the alternative recommended by philosopher and environmentalist András Lányi, according to a recent poll ordered by Greenpeace and conducted by pollster Závecz Research, reports Index.hu.

“Would you support the construction of the dam on the beach or would you support improving the dam further away from the beach at its current track?” the poll question reads.

According to the response, some 58 percent of Budapest citizens would support improving the existing dam situated further inland. Only 20 percent said they would support the mobile dam on the beach, and 16 percent would not answer the question.

The pollster also asked which authority should be permitted to decide the location of the dam. This drew a divided response: 38 percent said citizens of Budapest’s 3rd district should hold a district referendum. 27 percent supported the idea of an independent jury making the decision, 19 percent felt the question should be answered in a city-wide referendum, and 11 percent backed the Budapest Municipality to decide.

The pollster also measured citizens’ attitudes toward green areas in Budapest, asking: “Do you agree that it should be a priority strategic aim of Budapest to conserve existing green areas, and to increase green areas?”

A considerable majority, 71 percent, responded that both conserving and increasing green areas should be a top priority of Budapest Municipality. According to 23 percent, the city council should conserve existing green areas but there is no need to increase them. 3 percent responded that neither conserving nor increasing green areas should be a priority.

The municipality’s decision to erect a mobile dam system on the shore at north Buda was halted in 2015 due to changes in the law, and new plans had to be prepared. The final plan was accepted in June but the project has been attacked by NGOs, environmentalists and opposition parties since its announcement.

An alternative route for the dam, compiled by a coalition of civil activists, environmentalists, hydrologists and architects, aims to preserve the last-remaining section of natural beach (Római part) on the Danube within Budapest city limits by placing the dam along Nánási út, some 200 meters inland. Opponents of the current development plans, which would remove some 400 trees from the popular area and place the mobile dam along the river’s edge, have vowed to obstruct construction of this dam, planned to begin this Fall.