Environment & Nature

Protecting nature, reducing CO2 emissions

It is impossible to completely avoid the railroad from having an impact on environment and residents. Being aware of this fact, one of the focal points of this project has always been to keep its impact on nature as low as possible. 

There are strict legal rules both countries must and will respect such as the Federal Nature Conservation Act in Germany that governs the implementation of measures to protect affected habitats of animal and plant species. The Federal Immission Control Act, on the other hand, protects people by setting limits on noise, vibrations, electromagnetic fields, and particulate matter.

In the Czech Republic, the design of the new high-speed rail is undergoing several environmental impact assessments.

  • First, during the feasibility study when a suitable route is selected.
  • Then, when updating the regional spatial planning documentation, the so-called Regional Development Principles (ZÚR), when an environmental impact assessment (SEA) of the concept is prepared.
  • Finally, an environmental impact assessment, known as an EIA, is carried out during the preparation of the detailed technical design. The effects of planned constructions on public health and the environment are evaluated, including the impacts on animals, plants, soil, water, air, and public health.
On a clear day, a lengthy red freight train, travels through a lush green landscape. The scenery consists of forested areas along the edges and a blue river.
Deutsche Bahn AG / Frank Barteld

Wildlife mappings to minimise impact on natural reserves

The nature and species conservation team looks at the flora and fauna in the project area, along the possible routes and carries out so-called wildlife mappings.

1. In order to map species in a specific area, experts answer following questions beforehand:

  • Is mapping already available for this area?
  • What data is available?
  • What species might be found here?

2. The results provide the basis for an invitation to tender for mapping by an external company. The reports are standardised and the methodology is stipulated.

3. To detect the species, experts carefully approach " suspicious" areas and walk through areas where they are likely to find species. These are, for example, spots where the suspected species might find food. Anschließend erstellen sie einen Kartierbericht über die Arten im Projektbereich.

4. Together with nature conservation authorities and experts, we then develop appropriate measures for their protection. We also define so-called "no-building areas". We are not allowed to plan or build there.

5. The data from the wildlife mapping was also incorporated in the comparison of variants via the "Catalogue of Environmental Criteria".

Hazel Dormouse / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie
Eagle owl / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie
Aesalus scarabaeoides / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie
Sand lizard / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie
Corn bunting / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie
Agilge frog / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie
Fat Dormouse / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie
Lesser horseshoe bat / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie
Hermit beetle / Myotis - Büro für Landschaftsökologie

Mapped species in the project area (1/3)

Sand lizard: The sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) cavorts in the project area at the railway embankment on the sun-warmed stones, which provide excellent shelter.

Hazel Dormouse: This small dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) was discovered near the Kastanienallee near Heidenau. The nocturnal climber is distinguished by its warm golden fur. It is at home in near-natural forests and field copses and is strictly protected in Europe.

Fat Dormouse: Like the Hazel dormouse, the Fat dormouse (Glis glis) belongs to the dormouse species. The nocturnal rodent eats winter fat with the fat-rich nut fruits of the forest and then goes into hibernation from September to May.

Mapped species in the project area (2/3)

Corn Bunting: The Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra) is one of the many bird species relevant to planning in the project area and is on the early warning level of the Red List of Breeding Birds of Germany.

Eagle owl: This eagle owl (Bubo bubo) is found above the Bahre valleys in quarrying areas. Its species often breeds on rock faces and stone slopes and is easily recognised by its orange-yellow eyes and conspicuous feather ears.

Lesser horseshoe bat: The lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) lives with offspring in its winter quarters on the Kohlberg. With a wingspan of only 250 mm, it is one of the smallest European species and is strictly protected.


Mapped species in the project area (3/3)

Agile frog: The Agile frog (Rana dalmatina) is one of the important amphibian species in the project area. It is easily recognisable by its brown colour, pointed snout and triangular temple patches.

Aesalus scarabaeoides: This black-browed beetle is only 5 mm in size and is considered endangered in Germany. It requires special measures for its protection.

Hermit beetle: The shiny hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita) is 20 mm in size and gets its name from its preferred dwelling: it lives high up in tree hollows. In Germany it is listed as critically endangered.

Compensatory measures for environmental interventions at DB InfraGO AG

On certain occasions it won't be possible not to intervene with the ecosystem of a specific area. In this case we will temporarily relocate animals and plants to protect them from potential harm. After finalisation of construction work, they will be returned to their previous area. It is our goal to absolutely preserve ecological diversity and abundance of nature. So, if resettlement of plants and animals would let them face living conditions which are not sufficient for their needs, we will make sure that they'll find the right environment in a nearby area.


Protection of water and water resources at Správa železnic and DB InfraGO AG

The design of the route, especially the technical solutions, must respect the hydrotechnical conditions in the area. However, it is not possible to cover all possible impacts at the basic design level. A hydrotechnical survey shall therefore be carried out during further preparation. Not only a survey of the conditions in the area but also an analysis of the runoff conditions during extreme rainfall must be taken into account.

This is reflected in the technical solution design in several places. In the case of tunnel construction, the sealing of the tunnel lining is proposed with regards to the local conditions. In the case of the earthwork (especially the cuts), the correct slope form and drainage dimensions are proposed.

In the event of water source encroachment and impossibility to implement the technical measure, the construction of a replacement water source may also be part of the HSR construction.

A tranquil river amidst a green landscape of forests and meadows after sunrise. The sun has just risen, casting warm and soft light, while the air carries a slight haze.
DB AG / Volker Emersleben