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Holistic Land Use Spørring

Location: Spørring, Aarhus, Denmark

Case study conducted by: Alexander Chen and Oda Hustad, Roskilde University

Time span: 2021-2025

Green SDGs: 7, 13

Partners: Aarhus municipality, Nature Energy, local citizens and citizen associations

Image by Aarhus municipality
Image by Nature Energy

Aarhus municipality, which is home to Denmark’s second largest city of Aarhus, has set an ambitious goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. Holistic land use is a central aim in this climate action strategy. Holistic land use entails merging concerns related to climate adaptation, biodiversity, social sustainability, groundwater protection, city development, sustainable energy solutions on the same locations, and securing optimal land use in this process. Our case study is situated in the village of Spørring north of Aarhus city, where Aarhus municipality has initiated a pilot project of holistic land use. While Aarhus municipality has several initiatives in Spørring, we have chosen to focus on one specific initiative in Holistic land use Spørring: the expansion and modernization of the local biogas plant, Bånlev Biogas. Aarhus aims to transition away from nature gas, and this increases the need for biogas production. In Spørring, citizens have been neighbors to Bånlev Biogas since the 1990’s, and the idea of a plant expansion has not been uncontroversial. Local citizens were initially skeptical to the expansion, as they feared it would generate more traffic on the local highway and increased odors from the biogas plant, which in its current state omits a certain amount of odor. They have also previously felt overlooked by the municipality. However, Aarhus municipality has in recent years taken measures to collaborate more closely with Spørring citizens, which has generated a more positive attitude towards the municipality.


Since the first discussions about the biogas plant started in 2021, Spørring citizens have been asked by Aarhus municipality to provide their inputs for the forthcoming expansion of Bånlev Biogas, including wishes for new vegetation and green areas around the plant. The energy company Nature Energy, which owns Bånlev Biogas, also regularly addresses the concerns and questions of citizens, which has increased the local level of trust in the company. A visit to a modern biogas plant arranged by Nature Energy for Spørring citizens has also created a more favorable attitude among the citizens to the expansion, as they could see that the modernization of Bånlev Biogas that the expansion will entail will eliminate much of the current odor problems. Thus, a combination of strengthened collaboration and modernized biogas plant solutions has ensured a broad local support for the expansion of Bånlev Biogas. The final expansion plan was approved by Aarhus city council in the end of 2023, and the expanded biogas plant is expected to be up and running in 2025.

In GOGREEN, we define the green SDGs as the following SDGs: SDG 6, SDG 7, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14, SDG 15

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