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Weber fights for vanishing landscapes

Swiss ecologist Franz Weber has handed in signatures for two initiatives aimed at protecting Switzerland's landscapes from excessive development.

Weber said on Tuesday that more than 120,000 people had signed both texts, adding that he wanted to avoid Switzerland becoming one big city stretching from Geneva to Lake Constance.

The first initiative calls for tighter building restrictions regarding major projects such as airfields, shopping centres and stadiums. Projects would only be allowed to go ahead if they were truly necessary and fulfil sustainable development criteria.

The other initiative wants to put the brakes on the construction of secondary residences. Such residences would not be allowed to constitute more than 20 per cent of all lodgings within a commune and take up no more than 20 per cent of all building zones.

To force a nationwide vote on an initiative, 100,000 signatures are required.

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