The environmental projects of the VDE 8.1 upgraded line
Upgrading a railway line involves encroaching into the natural environment and the landscape. However, this is mitigated or compensated in accordance with a detailed landscape conservation plan. If the loss of habitats for animals or plants cannot be compensated locally, they are replaced with habitats of equal value elsewhere. Before concrete plans were made, a detailed analysis of the environment affected was carried out in order to study the environmental impact of the railway project. The results of the environmental impact study confirm that upgrading the line between Nuremberg and Ebensfeld is the solution with the least environmental impact: Upgrading the existing line avoids encroaching into new landscapes and takes advantage of the grouping of existing routes. Numerous measures have been developed to help compensate for losses in close consultation with the affected cities and administrative districts.
For example, in Regnitzgrund in Fürth near Stadeln, measures have been taken to increase ecological diversity. Effective additions to the waterways development plans of the cities of Nuremberg and Fürth between Kleingründlach and Steinach and of the city of Erlangen in Hutgraben near Tennenlohe compensate for any impairment to the local ecology or replace lost environments of ecological value. In the administrative district of Erlangen-Höchststadt on the outskirts of Erlangen, parts of the Tennenloher Forst conservation area will be cleared for grazing by wild Przewalski horses to improve the condition of the sandy grasslands.
A variety of measures designed to protect species are to be carried out before construction work begins. Alternative biotopes will thus be created for the sand lizards that live in the ballast on the railway line. The habitats of bats are affected by the line at Gründlach. To control their populations, bat boxes have already been hung up at an appropriate distance from the planned construction site.
Fields at Hutgraben are being converted in advance to extensive grassland for grassland birds. In addition to ecological compensation measures, the landscape is being reshaped by the landscape conservation measures taken in the construction area so that those seeking peace and quiet in the countryside can continue to experience it in the future.