Seas At Risk Danish member organisation the Danish Society for Nature Conservation has held large beach rallies at the culmination of their campaign for a protected status for Denmark’s coastline.

30,000 people turned out to over 200 bonfire rallies on Sunday 31st March to protest government plans to allow for increased development of currently unspoiled Danish coastal areas. The Liberal led government has recently proposed changes to planning and nature protection laws that would allow for the construction and such developments as holiday centres and waterparks. By using specific legislation they are also trying to make it more difficult for citizens to objecting to such plans.

The protection of the coastal environment is an issue of great importance to Danes. In the 1930’s the then prime minister Thorvald Stauning reacted to similar proposals for construction and development by stating that it would be a foolish move that would harm future generations, and instigated the first effective set of nature protection laws in Denmark.

The Danish Nature Conservation Society launched a huge campaign of public demonstrations to the recent proposals, and these culminated in the bonfire rallies on beaches across Denmark. They have launched a public petition, with over 140,000 signatories, and have seen a surge in their membership, with 125,000 now registered with the organisation. The Danish environment minister has said that the legal reforms will be limited to only 10 development sites, but at the same time advocate for further 15 concessions in the near future.

The Liberal attack on coastal protection involves fewer restrictions on development and construction within both the strictly protected 300 meter beach zone and the 3 km coastal inland zone, where developments until now have had planning restrictions.

You can see images and videos from the day of protest here. They are also organising an annual waste collection for 17 April, to once again put the cleanliness and preservation of Denmark’s beautiful beaches on the public agenda.

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