The PROACT Team/Eurobirder Letter

The letter below was sent by 'snailmail' to the following addresses today, 14th June 2001

The State Planning Agency - Skipulagsstofnun

The Minister for the Environment, Iceland - Ms. Siv Fridleifsdottir (E-mail)

The National Power Company of Iceland - Landsvirkjun

Norsk Hydro

with copies to:

The Iceland Nature Conservancy Association - Náttúrurverndarsamtök Íslands

The Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds - Fuglaverndarfélag Íslands

The Managing Director
Laugavegi 166
150 Reykjavík

14 June 2001

Dear Madam,
Dear Sir,


We are writing to you to express our grave concern over the reported plans for the Icelandic National Power Companys Kárahnjúkavirkjun hydroelectric project in the incomparable Icelandic Highlands. It is incomprehensible that such a project, with severe consequences for the nature and environment in Iceland, should have the support of the Icelandic government.

It is hard to believe that official sanction could be given to such a massive intervention in the natural environment, with far-reaching effects for some 3% of the countrys landmass. Not only that - the largest coherent wilderness in Western Europe, the heritage of past and future generations, will be destroyed.

It is particularly worrying that the prospect of causing irreversible damage to the natural structures and relationships, by the diversion and redistribution of rivers and complete drainage systems, does not appear to have been considered. The consequences of building dams and reservoirs in order to produce energy for an, as yet to be built aluminium smelting works, in co-operation with Norsk Hydro, will have critical and long-lasting consequences for Iceland. The acceptance of the expected effluence and toxic emission levels, which are expected to increase current national values by over 30% (!), are irresponsible not only for Iceland and its population; but also global in terms of climate-warming and pollution.

The habitats for many forms of flora and fauna, over an area of 3000 square kilometres, will be destroyed or seriously affected by the planned project. Iceland will be in breach of several international agreements including the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Bern Convention on Conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats and the Agreement on Diversity of Species. In particular the important habitats of many bird species are threatened, some of them on the Icelandic Red List of threatened species. These include the Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Pink-footed Goose, Gyrfalcon, Whimbrel, Red-necked Phalarope, Arctic Skua, and Snowy Owl.

We urge you to reflect that Icelands nature is a major capital reserve which will be depleted when the numbers of tourists which visit each year significantly decrease. The attraction which brings them to your shores, and encourages them to contribute their dollars and euros to your economy, is the intact and unspoilt nature which your island has to offer. When this disappears to a marked extent, which will be the logical consequence of your plans, the tourist economy will suffer. As for factories, there are more than enough of these in the rest of Europe and the world without Iceland adding to the global environmental burden. Only a minority will profit from this massively destructive project and Iceland as a whole will benefit little from the short-term financial profits.

We appeal to you to review this project to the benefit of the natural environment of Iceland. In the affected region natural phenomena exist which are unique natural occurrences and part of the region is a declared nature reserve.

We hope that you can be persuaded to abandon this pointless destructive project and instead direct your efforts into the creation of the largest national park in Europe a development for which present and future generations of Icelanders and foreign nature lovers will be eternally grateful.

David Conlin

and concerned Eurobirders, ornithologists and others, representing the following countries:

Austria, Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, Wales

Alessandro Iacopi, Andrea Jette, Andreas Deter, Andrew Fuller, Annika Forsten, Antony Disley, Ariel Brunner, Bert Van der Krieken, Bertil Johansson, Bill Alexander, Bo Beolens, Callan Cohen, Carola Hallay, Ceri Jones, Christer Wendeler, Darcie Boden, Dave Pearson, David Camilleri, David Russell, David Whaley, Eke, Elly Schumm, Emmy Petersson, Ennio Critelli, Fiona Courtis, Giuliano Mazzocchi, Graham Etherington, Guus van Duin, Hans Bucht, Hans Schick, Herbert M. Stein, Iain Robson, Ian Cater, Ian Simms, Ila Sohlo, Ingrid Balzer, James Barton, Jane Pearson, Janet P Jones, Jan-Joost Bouwman, Jean Hupperetz, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Price, Jerzy Dyczkowski, Joachim Mergeay, Jody Keelin, Joerg Hoenle, John Boden, Jon Olson, Judy Dawes, Karl-Petter Gade, Katrien De Maeyer, Keith Heywood, Kenneth Bengtsson, Lars Nilsson, Lars von Konow, Marc Raes, Maria Paspaleva, Marian Swenson, Marie Robson, Matei Talpeanu, Michael Collard, Mikael Rosén, Nick Carter, Nigel Cottle, Norman Van Swelm, Ola Nilsson, P Meijer, Paul Chandler, Pete Hilz, Peter Mandzak, Peter Nash, Peter Reay, Peter Swallow, Philip Griffin, Prof. Dr. Peter Finke, Riccardo Molajoli, Herbert M. Stein, Samuel Pacenovsky, Sian Jones, Sigvard Svensson, Stefan Papf, Stephen Welch, Sylvia Zammit, Thomas Ekberg, Tiemen De Smedt, Tobias Stenzel, Tom Conzemius, Tom Goossens, William Van Der Velden, Willie Lenihan, Wim Deloddere, Wim Schumm, Wim Veraghtert, Yvon Princen,

Click on the Arctic tern for more info on Proact...

Proact Team

Proact/Birding in Europe © David Conlin 2001