Home NewsEurope EU bank provides new EUR 450m loan for German river rehabilitation project

EU bank provides new EUR 450m loan for German river rehabilitation project

One of Europe’s largest environmental projects is to receive additional support from the European Investment Bank (EIB) – the bank is providing a further EUR 450m loan to Emschergenossenschaft for the large-scale rehabilitation of the river system.

With the new loan, the EIB is co-financing Emschergenossenschaft’s investment programme for the 2017-2019 period. Previous loans from 2011 and 2013 make this the third time the EIB has funded the comprehensive development project, bringing its total financing for Emschergenossenschaft to over EUR 1.3bn.

The Ruhr region is the largest urban area in Germany with more than 5 million residents, while the Emscher river passes through the central Ruhr region, which is home to almost 2.5 million people.

Mining has shaped the region economically, and has also had a significant impact on the landscape. Subsidence caused by coal mining meant that no underground sewerage system could be installed, leading to the Emscher and its tributaries being used as an open sewer for almost a century. Only the northward migration of the mining industry in the late 1980s made the Emscher rehabilitation project possible.

The extensive, long-term project is accompanied by the ecological reconstruction of the riverscape. The Emscher is being restored to a near-natural state, with former farmland and brownfield sites being returned to nature. The Emscher should be mostly wastewater-free again by the end of 2020.

EIB President Werner Hoyer said initiatives like the Emscher rehabilitation project are key to sustainable environmental and climate protection, commenting:

“The Emscher rehabilitation project is a real showcase for the whole of Europe. It shows how a region shaped by industry over several decades can be returned to a near-natural landscape.“

Uli Paetzel, Chairman of the Executive Board of Emschergenossenschaft, added that the Emscher rehabilitation scheme was  not only one of the most important water projects in the region, but has now also become an international flagship project with town planning advantages for both people and the natural environment.

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