If it wasn’t for its clay-pigeon shooting range, life in Landscheid – a small town with 2,000 residents in West Germany’s hilly Eifel region – might remain as slow and peaceful as it has since the end of the Second World War.
The range occupies a nine-acre site and has been used by shotgun enthusiasts two days a week for 40 years. But now Germany’s strict environmental protection laws stipulate that the lead shot in the ground must be removed.
But Landscheid cannot meet the costs of the huge cleansing operation. Enter shotgun enthusiast and wealthy entrepreneur Michael Ostendorf. He offered to pay for cleaning on condition that he would be allowed to develop the site. Two months ago the town council accepted Mr Ostendorf’s offer by majority vote.
However, critics say the plans will lead to the largest clay pigeon shooting range in Europe. The site will be expanded to 37 acres, be open seven day a week and include an events centre, gun store, shooting school and restaurants. One estimate claims that 28,000 shots will ring out from the range each day. The protests have already started, including from monks at the nearby Himmerod Cistercian abbey. They are trying to raise money with courses in “spiritual tranquillity”.