In National Park Pirin tree felling for the illegal construction of a new lift in the Bansko ski zone has started

Within the statutory deadline, the Coalition “For the Nature” appealed the decision of Minister Nona Karadjova that permitted the implementation of the project without eco-assessments of the impact on National Park Pirin of the three times greater number of people that the new lift would carry.
The environmentalists call attention to the fact that the Ministry of Environment and Water agreed the reconstruction of the lift within the limits of the existing forest cutting and without the felling of new trees in order to justify why there was no need for an EIA and a NATURA 2000 compatibility assessment.
In addition, the decision of the Ministry was issued with the so-called immediate execution, which means that the appeal does not halt the process of its implementation. That is, the investor can build the lift irrespective of the fact that the decision is being appealed on substantive grounds.

The coalition “For the Nature” has already lodged a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office about the law violation in National Park Pirin and will send additional information to the European Commission, which has already started an infringement procedure against Bulgaria for the construction of two other ski installations in National Park Pirin.
The coalition “For the Nature” will soon present its position on the first year in power of the GERB government and environmental protection.

The concessionaire of the exclusive state property, which is the entire National Park Pirin, is “Ulen” JSC, behind which is in practice Tseko Minev – a shareholder in First Investment Bank and chairman of the Bulgarian Ski Federation.

The project of the Bansko ski-zone was agreed in 2000 by the then-Minister of Environment and Water Evdokia Maneva (UDF), who at the moment is Deputy-Minister of Environment and Water. In 2000, the concession was for an area of circa 100 hectares. Today, 10 years later, the Bansko ski-zone already spreads over some 200 hectares and there are no eco-permits for about a half of the installations.
To agree one thing, but do something else appears to be a consistent practice in the work of “Ulen” JSC. It is connected through a common member on the board of directors with “Vitosha Ski” JSC. “Vitosha Ski” is planning a large ski zone in Natural Park Vitosha. The company owner of the lifts at Aleko has already demonstrated the Bansko approach in Sofia. In October 2008, instead of the permitted removal by non-explosive means of 18 moraines under the Maluk Rezen peak, the company blasted about 400 moraines and thus built an illegal ski way.