Via Baltica Breakthrough
Polish government backs down for now over road construction - breathing space for threatened Rospuda Valley…Warsaw, Poland/Brussels, Belgium - BirdLife International, OTOP - the BirdLife Partner in Poland, CEE Bankwatch, Bankwatch Poland and WWF Poland welcomed Wednesday's reports in the Polish media on the Rospuda motorway case describing how the European Court of Justice (ECJ) received an official declaration from the Polish government. This stated that construction work on the controversial section of the Augustow bypass through the Natura 2000 designated Augustow Forest, including the Rospuda Valley, in north-east Poland will not start until a final ECJ judgment on the case, which is expected within the next two years."If these reports are confirmed, the Augustow Forest and the unique Rospuda Valley mires are safe for the time being. However, residents of Augustow risk facing further delays of an essential bypass, unless the Polish Road Agency and authorities undertake a serious analysis of all alternative routes, in compliance with European legislation." said Malgorzata Znaniecka, OTOP Anna Roggenbuck, of Polish Green Network, a CEE Bankwatch Network member, said: "Alarmingly, despite today's developments construction works continue on sections of the Augustow Bypass outside the Natura 2000 site, posing significant financial implications if Poland loses the case in the ECJ. Augustow could be left with a road to nowhere."
At the end of July, the European Commission applied to the ECJ for the temporary suspension of construction works that directly threatened the Augustow Forest Natura 2000 site. This followed a shock announcement from Polish officials that construction would start within the Natura 2000 site on August 1, as soon as the breeding season for birds was officially over.
Members of the European Parliament's Petition Committee visited the site in June and they are likely to adopt a critical report on this case on September 13.
4th July 2014