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Local News Summary of March, 17th

  • Bird breeding season begins: dogs need to be kept on leads in Basel’s forests
  • International fugitive arrested at train station SBB
  • Millions of Swiss francs allocated for accessible public transport stops in Basel

Bird breeding season begins: dogs need to be kept on leads in Basel’s forests

The coming of spring marks the start of the breeding season for local birds and mammals. To keep disturbances of wild animals to a minimum, dog owners are asked to adhere to the cantonal leash law, which applies from 1 April to 31 July in forests and surrounding areas.

Dogs need exercise, but even well-behaved ones remain hunters at heart. Dogs always pick up a scent in the forest and follow their hunting instinct. This puts young wildlife at risk of being killed by dogs. The additional stress can also have dire consequences for pregnant animals. For many wild animals, meadows and hedges in open countryside are vital spots for them to raise their young. Dog owners should also be responsible in these areas and ensure that their dogs do not disturb young animals which are resting.

The authorities are therefore appealing to dog owners to keep to the leash law which is effective between 1 April and the end of July. Dogs need to be kept on a lead at all times in forests and surroundings to allow wild animals to raise their young without any disturbances. In protected wildlife areas, the leash law applies for the entire year. Hunting and the protection of wild animals is enshrined in the law. Some municipalities have special, stricter leash laws.

Do not touch young wild animals

Even if they are found alone, fawns or young birds have rarely lost their mothers. They should never be touched and should instead be left where they are. In cases where it is not clear where the animal’s mother is, the local gamekeeper should be contacted.


International fugitive arrested at train station SBB

Swiss border guards have arrested a Hungarian man who is wanted for several alleged crimes in foreign countries.

The border guards discovered that the man was a fugitive as they checked his Hungarian nationality documents he was carrying at the SBB train station last Sunday. He was handed over to the cantonal police of Basel-Stadt.

A check of his nationality revealed that he is marked as “to be arrested” according to the Schengen Information System (SIS). The Federal Office of Police (fedpol) has said the man is wanted for numerous alleged crimes including taking hostages, theft, fraud, misuse of ATMs, and document fraud. The man was handed over to the cantonal police of Basel-Stadt.


Millions of Swiss francs allocated for accessible public transport stops in Basel

A sum of 37 million Swiss francs has been allocated to make public transport stops accessible for disabled people. The Grand Council on Thursday agreed to pay the second rate of the federal allowance.

Federal laws insist that all Swiss tram and bus stops must be accessible for disabled people as of 2023. The second phase of the planning and realisation of a first reconstruction period in Basel-Stadt has been set to take place between 2017 and 2021.

Amongst others, kerbs are to be raised to allow wheelchair users equal access to trams and buses. The government has also suggested that all public transport should be fitted with folding ramps at specific tram and bus stops.

However, a spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats (LDP) and the Christian Democratic People’s Party/Evangelical People’s Party (CVP/EVP) has accused the project management of “sloppiness”. The Commission for Environment, Traffic, and Energy (UVEK) revealed that only four public transport stops – instead of the 60 around the city - really need the planned ramps, it is stated. The UVEK has therefore cut the corresponding allowance by 648,000 Swiss francs.

Time is pressing

The Green Alliance likewise demanded that all modifications and relocations of public transport stops should be presented to the Grand Council: Some of these plans would result in longer distances for disabled passengers. Some Liberals supported this proposal.

However, the majority of the Grand Council members fear that the timetable might be affected as a result. The government had planned for the reconstruction of 80 to 90 per cent of all stops. If the parliament were to join in the discussion, as requested, there may be delays. The LDP and the CVP/EVP have warned about expensive lawsuits by associations of disabled people.

Construction and traffic director Hans-Peter Wessels interjected that due to the costs, relocations in any case need to be presented to the parliament. Therefore, the Grand Council denied the proposal with 58 No-votes against 23 Yes-votes (ten council members did not cast a vote). The payment of the second rate, however, was approved with 84 Yes-votes against three No-votes.