Last update:
2014-06-24

Lignite mining Cottbus Nord (Lakoma), Germany

Description:

Since the development of the lignite mine in the north of Cottbus (1978) seven municipalities were destroyed and 906 residents had to be relocated. The strongest opposition took place in the municipality of Lakoma. The vast majority of that time about 150 inhabitants was resettled before the reunification in 1989/90 despite protests and some farms were demolished. Then the village was as deserted or ghost town largely empty. In May 1992, vacant buildings were occupied by environmental activists. A year later an association was founded, which, inter alia sought to legalize the occupations and to implement a common village use. This association received in 1994 the right for interim use of Lakoma until 2003. More than twenty people inhabited at that time the remaining part of the village. After expiry of the interim use contracts (in 2003), the owner of the village (Swedish government owned enterprise Vattenfall) evacuated the village by police violence and despite continued resistance. Afterwards, all but two houses at the entrance of the village close proximity to the main road were teared off. In 2004 a two-hour documentary was made about the conflict as well as many other documentations and articles in the local press and in national newspapers. The activists were supported by various EJO’s including Robin Wood, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). Protest actions have included occupation of the village (1992-2003), tree occupations (2005-2007), and open letters to the EU commission. In 2008, the village Lakoma disappeared permanently from the countryside north of Cottbus. In the spring of 2010, the coal mine reached the town center. The mining in the Cottbus-Nord mine will continue until 2015 and flooded in 2018. Thus, the former village Lakoma is a part of the future Cottbus East Lake.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Lignite mining Cottbus Nord (Lakoma), Germany
Country:Germany
State or province:Brandenburg
Location of conflict:Lakoma
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:
Land
Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project details

,7 ha, 4-7 Million Tonnes of lignite per year

Project area:2,700
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:906
Start of the conflict:1989
Company names or state enterprises:Vattenfall Europe Mining AG from Germany
NUON from Netherlands
Relevant government actors:Brandenburg Government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace, Robin Wood, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND)
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageUnknown
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Health impactsThe regions lignite fired power plants cause annual costs for human health and the environment of about 3 to 5 billion Euro altogether. In its communication to the European Commission
Brandenburg calls upon a significant fraction of pollution (on 57% of days when limits were exceeded) to originate from long-range transboundary air pollution, for example from Poland and the Czech Republic.
The air pollution action plan of the municipality of Cottbus from the year
2006 similarly estimates that about half of the urban
pollution with particulate matter is actually due to ambient air pollution and not caused by local traffic. Ambient air
pollution is partly caused by the lignite-fired power plants in the greater region.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:Stop mining, renewable energy
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:In 2003, the owner of the village (Swedish government owned enterprise Vattenfall) evacuated the village by police violence and despite continued resistance. Afterwards, all but two houses at the entrance of the village close proximity to the main road were teared off. In 2008, the village Lakoma disappeared permanently from the countryside north of Cottbus. In the spring of 2010, the coal mine reached the town center. The mining in the Cottbus-Nord mine will continue until 2015 and flooded in 2018. Thus, the former village Lakoma is a part of the future Cottbus East Lake.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Brandenburg Constitution, German Mining law

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Meta information
Contributor:Gabriel Weber
Last update24/06/2014
Comments
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