Spotlights said to irritate birds Environmentalist files complaint against the Klangwelle in Bonn

Bonn · A nature conservationist has filed a complaint against the organizers of the Klangwelle event because he says the spotlights are not compatible with bird protection. There is also a complaint against the city of Bonn.

 The Klangwelle event was held in Bonn this year to raise money for flood victims.

The Klangwelle event was held in Bonn this year to raise money for flood victims.

Foto: Ingo Firley

A nature conservationist has filed charges against the organizers of the Klangwelle and lodged an official complaint with the Cologne district government. The reason is that the powerful sky spotlights allegedly attract and irritate birds, causing them to collide with objects such as the Post Tower. It would follow that the special illumination of the building would cause more animals to die. The district government and the city are now investigating the case. But it will not have any effect on the Klangwelle event in Bonn this year, as it ends on Sunday.

The nature conservationist and ornithologist Heiko Haupt, who has been concerned for years with bird protection in general and the lighting of the Post Tower in particular, had already contacted the city of Bonn after the rehearsals for Klangwelle two weeks ago. Apparently, so-called sky beamers, i.e. lights that shine particularly brightly and far into the sky, are said to have been used. “Until now, the city of Bonn had prohibited the operation of sky beamers with respect for nature conservation and building regulations during bird migration periods," explains Haupt.

Besides the sky beamers, there was another problem: The trees along the grassland, especially those facing the Rhine, had been specifically illuminated, he said. "I also consider these illuminations to be questionable under species protection law, as they drive resting birds away from these areas (roosts)," Haupt said in a letter to the city. In the light emissions produced by the Klangwelle rehearsals, flying birds had been observed again and again, which had "presumably lost their orientation and ran the risk of colliding with obstacles." The main issue, he said, is not to shut down the Klangwelle event, but to bring it in line with bird protection.

Administration apparently did not respond to warnings

Despite several letters and telephone calls, the administration did not respond to Haupt's warnings, as he described to the GA. As a result, he submitted a disciplinary complaint to the Cologne district government on October 8. There was no reaction to the complaint he filed by the authorities responsible.

Both the city of Bonn and the district government declined to comment on the case when queried by the GA because of the ongoing proceedings and the fact that an assessment has yet to be made. "We can confirm the receipt of the disciplinary complaint. The city will examine it and submit a statement to the district government," the city stated. The district government said that the "municipal supervisory authority will examine the matter closely." "The decision to intervene is at the discretion of the municipal supervisory authority, so it does not always have to take action. According to applicable case law, the municipal supervisory authority may only intervene if a municipality has violated applicable law and a public interest requires intervention," says spokeswoman Vanessa Nolte.

Organizer Julian Reininger of event agency Fünfdrei explains that sky beamers were not used at Klangwelle. "They are lamps that are used on every stage, such as at the Kulturgarten." They are just aimed into the sky. "We respect nature and bird conservation, of course. But it's a pity that individual people always manage to make it almost impossible to hold such events in Bonn," says Reininger.

(Orig. text: Nicolas Ottersbach; Translation: ck)
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