European Birds Directive to affect Romanian Wind Power projects?

A group of ecologist calling herself “Ecosapiens” has sent a petition to a list of Romanian Authorities against the planned construction of Wind Farms in some area’s in R0mania that the European Union indicated as so-called Special Purpose Area’s or SPA.

The Romanian authority for environment, the ANMP, issues Environment permits based on a EIS or Environment Impact Study. The Ecologists however claim that the studies are based false data and that the permits issued are illegal. When the European Court will rule in their favor then this could mean that wind farm projects can be put on hold, need to be stopped or in the worst case that wind farms that are already built need to be taken down.

Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. It is an EU wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they designate under the 1979 Birds Directive. Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded. Whereas the network will certainly include nature reserves most of the land is likely to continue to be privately owned and the emphasis will be on ensuring that future management is sustainable, both ecologically and economically. The establishment of this network of protected areas also fulfils a Community obligation under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

The petition potentially could result in legal action against wind farm projects in SPA’s in Romania, like in Bulgaria. Bulgaria and Romania became a member of the European Union in January 2007 bringing the countries under the same environmental legislation that applies to other Member States. This includes obligations under the Birds Directive to designate areas of European significance for birds as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and then to protect them.

“On 30 November 2006 the Bern Convention on European Wildlife and Natural Habitats ‘opened a new file’ on the case of wind farm development on the Via Pontica bird migration route along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast against installing over 400 wind turbines in the  Bulgarian Coastal Dobrudzha region including 166 turbines in the Kaliakra and Balchik proposed Natura 2000 sites.”

BirdLife and BSPB staff met with Environment Commissioner Potocnik in Brussels and ask him to take personal action to protect Kaliakra and other sites. The Commissioner confirms that the Commission will take further action on the case. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian government confirms extensions to four Special Protection Areas which formed part of BSPB’s complaint to the European Commission about lack of designation. As a result The European Commission is pursuing legal action against Poland and Bulgaria for failing to adequately assess the impact of construction projects on protected nature areas.

Quoted from Natura 2000 website: “Protected areas are key to preserving the Carpathians’ outstanding biodiversity and in providing a broad range of services which benefit local people and society.” Read more: http://www.natura2000.ro

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