ПРОБЛЕМЪТ НАТУРА 2000 /in English/

20 Ноем. 2007
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Bulgaria"s delayed submission of NATURA 2000 to the EC has now taken over a year. Here in Sofia, most people know this happens because Bulgarian authorities are under pressure from shady developers who want to "invest" millions of euro in sea and mountain resorts. Unfortunately most of the construction projects are not ecologically sound and are planned in NATURA 2000 zones.

In its latest version of NATURA 2000, the Bulgarian Council of Ministers have included a scandalous proviso that allows a loophole for development in areas that should be protected. As it stands now, all territories that have a General or Detailed Spatial Plan, together with all the territories under concession are excluded. In many territories of great natural value, investors already have development plans. This outrageous exception will remove many regions of the biodiversity network, defeating the very purpose of the European legislation.

In case this means of avoidance were not enough, on October 25, the Bulgarian Biodiversity Council made another scandalous decision. It erased three valuable zones from the NATURA 2000 list. All are regions of great ecological value, "Rila-buffer," and great parts "Emine-Irakli" and "Kaliakra". All this was done without any scientific evidence. The excluded zones again coincide with territories chosen by developers as sites for their investments.

A significant part of the huge ski-resort Panichishte-Ezerata-Kabul will be constructed in the "Rila-buffer", and 2/3 of it is within the territory Rila National Park.

Wind generators for an electric plant are already being built in "Kaliakra," a crucial bird migration route, VIA PONTICA

On November 13, the construction of a large tourist complex in "Irakli" began - one of the last wild beaches on the Black Sea - a place of great cultural value and biodiversity importance. The Bulgarian public has made a series of large demonstrations against development in "Irakli", and submitted a petition of 50 000 signatures against the construction of any more tourist complexes in protected areas on the Black Sea coast. Nothing has helped so far!!

The Bulgarian Biodiversity Council is the authority that "consults" the Council of Ministers about which zones should be accepted in NATURA 2000. On Thursday, November 22, 2007 we expect the Council of Ministers to make its final decision about NATURA 2000. The coalition of 17 NGOs LET NATURE REMAIN IN BULGARIA insists that the Council of Ministers take back to NATURA 2000 "Rila-buffer", "Irakli" and "Kaliakra" in their full coverage. The coalition also insists that the proviso about the zones with Spatial plans be rejected.

All this makes Thursdasy, 22 Novemeber, 2007 a crucial day for Bulgarian and European biodiversity!!!