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Johnson decries ‘desecration’ of Mosel

Veteran wine writer Hugh Johnson has protested against the ‘folly and desecration’ of a new road bridge and motorway through some of the Mosel’s finest vineyards.

Work has started on the Rheinland-Pfalz government’s planned High Mosel Bridge, and a new road around the Bernkastel area. All appeals against the project have been rejected.

But opponents still hope the project can be stopped and held a so-called ‘Last Chance’ forum to bring the issue to the attention of the world.

Artist’s impression of the bridge above the village of Rachtig, drawn to scale and based on existing plans

Johnson travelled to the Mosel at the weekend and told protesters, ‘There is a great folly and desecration about to be committed. I never expected to see the German government make such an assault on such a precious and prestigious wine region.’

He said he is no enemy of bridges when they are necessary and of architectural interest. But, he added, this bridge endangers something that is globally unparallelled and cannot be imitated: the Mosel wine from the steep slopes between Bernkastel and Erden.

Opponents say the road will cost around €500m of public money, and will cut journey times by only 30 minutes.

Eveline Lemke, head of the local Green Party, told decanter.com the bridge would be a costly white elephant.

‘We have a worldwide economic crisis so the government has poured €400bn to stimulate the economy. They’ve said “let’s do the projects we didn’t have the money for before,” so they are building this bridge. But there’s no need for it – even the private sector rejected the idea as there is not enough traffic to justify it.’

Johnson urged protesters to continue fighting. ‘Bridges have been built from nowhere to nowhere, but don’t let that happen. Don’t think that this can’t be stopped.’

To send an email of protest to the German Chancellor click here

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Written by Rebecca Gibb

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