Decision of Court (Fifth Section), April 21, 2015 (case CARPELAN v. SWEDEN)

Resolution DateApril 21, 2015
Issuing OrganizationCourt (Fifth Section)



Application no. 51454/11Greger CARPELANagainst Sweden

The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 21 April 2015 as a Chamber composed of:

             Mark Villiger, President,              Angelika Nußberger,              Boštjan M. Zupančič,              Vincent A. De Gaetano,              André Potocki,              Helena Jäderblom,              Aleš Pejchal, judges,and Milan Blaško, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 15 June 2011,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


  1. The applicant, Mr Greger Carpelan, is a Swedish national, who was born in 1923 and lives in Stockholm. He was represented before the Court by Ms G. Högberg Björck, a lawyer practising in Bro. The Swedish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Ms G. Isaksson of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

    1. The circumstances of the case

  2. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

  3. Background

  4. Since 1958 the applicant has resided in a flat located in a building in Bellevue Park in Stockholm: first due to his employment at the property and, as from 1982, on the basis of a rental agreement with the City of Stockholm (the owner of the property and the building). The Bellevue area is considered to be cultural heritage of national interest and has been recognised as such by the National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet).

  5. In 1996 the applicant appealed against a detailed development plan (detaljplan) adopted by the Municipal Council (kommunfullmäktige) of Stockholm which would allow for the construction of a tunnel under Bellevue Park as part of a motorway project called “Norra Länken”. The appeal was rejected by the Government, for which reason the applicant applied for judicial review before the Supreme Administrative Court (Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen). He claimed, inter alia, that he, and others living within or close to the area, would be negatively affected by the construction of the tunnel as it would cause various disturbances, particularly during the construction. Moreover, he contended that the nature and landscape of the park would be affected in violation of the Law on Natural Resources (lag om hushållning med naturresurser m.m., 1987:12, which was subsequently replaced by the Environmental Code [Miljöbalken, 1998:808]). On 31 January 1997 the Supreme Administrative Court repealed the Government’s decision, finding that the planned construction would constitute a breach of the law invoked in that the construction would encroach upon an area classified as a National City Park (nationalstadspark).

  6. Consequently, the Government annulled the detailed development plan in question and, later, the Municipal Council adopted a new detailed development plan which gained legal force in April 2006. Subsequently, the Municipal Council adopted an amendment to this detailed development plan. However, the amendment required changes to the Environmental Code and, in May 2009, such changes were adopted.

  7. The proceedings relating to the amendment of the detailed development plan

  8. On 11 May 2009 the Municipal Council adopted the amendment to the detailed development plan concerning Norra Länken. The amendment allowed for the construction from above ground of a tunnel through Bellevue Park. The Municipal Council noted that the amendments were focused on the method of constructing the tunnel. It further stressed that the effects on the environment would be essentially temporary as the park would be completely restored after construction had finished. Thus, there would be no considerable impact on the environment, nature, cultural heritage or people’s health and, hence, a formal environmental evaluation would not be necessary.

  9. The...

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