Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Court threat halts wetland destruction

02.08.2007
The threat of court action has forced the Polish government to halt work on a controversial highway that would irreparably damage one of Europe’s most pristine wildlife sites.

Construction workers were today (August 1) due to resume work on the Via Baltica highway through the ancient Rospuda Valley but have been ordered to stop by Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski under pressure from the European Commission.

The Commission asked the European Court of Justice to issue a temporary injunction preventing work in the valley, forcing the Polish government to back down before the court hears the case.

The Rospuda Valley, close to the Lithuanian border in north-east Poland, hosts a treasure trove of wildlife, including lynx, otters and wolves. More than 20 rare or threatened bird species breed within 750 metres of the route the Polish government wants the road to take.

Dr Helen Byron, International Officer at the RSPB, said: “It is impossible to stress just how precious the Rospuda Valley is. Species that are already gone or just hanging on in the UK are thriving in the valley.

“There is an alternative to the Rospuda Valley route which should now be considered because it would cause far less environmental damage but still by-pass the towns currently blighted by heavy traffic.

“If the valley is eventually bulldozed, a devastating precedent will be set. Other irreplaceable sites threatened by the Via Baltica will be in the firing line while other countries that increasingly see protected sites as obstacles to development will be encouraged to test Europe’s legal resolve in the same way.”

Land has already been cleared either side of the Rospuda Valley, a jewel in the crown of Europe’s protected sites. White tailed and lesser-spotted eagles soar above its wetlands, which attract otters, beavers and cranes, while its primeval forests - woodlands that have barely been touched - host black grouse, wild boar and the shy and elusive lynx.

Elk and beavers are common in the valley where 20 orchid species are found. Dr Byron said: “It would be difficult to find a better site for wildlife in Europe yet Poland was hours away from felling trees in the Rospuda and sticking two fingers up at European law.”

The 277-mile Via Baltica will run from Warsaw to Helsinki passing through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

An environmental assessment for the Polish section of the road is still underway but the government had pushed ahead with the Rospuda Valley route because it took traffic away from the town of Augustow, which is south of the valley. The shorter alternative would do that too and could be funded by the EU, unlike the Valley proposal.

The terrain of the valley means a 500-metre viaduct would be built on stilts planted in concrete sunk deep into rare and unspoilt peat bogs in the Rospuda River flood plain.

The Rospuda Valley is part of the EU’s network of sites called Natura 2000 and has been legally protected since Poland joined the EU in 2004. The halting of work today will allow the Polish government to explain its plans to the European Commission.

Alistair Gammell, the RSPB’s International Director, said: “Poland joined the European Union for its economic benefits but with that comes the requirement to comply with the law. The Rospuda Valley is a very special place with many rare species that need protection. Poland should choose a less damaging route for this road.”

Izabela Flor, Director of the Polish Bird Protection Society, OTOP, said: “This case has developed into a real test case for the enforcement of European legislation in Poland. Poland receives significant funding from the EU, and must fulfil its duties as a member state to protect its unique European natural heritage.”

Cath Harris | alfa
Further information:
http://www.rspb.org.uk
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht From the Arctic to the tropics: researchers present a unique database on Earth’s vegetation
20.11.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Fading stripes in Southeast Asia: First insight into the ecology of an elusive and threatened rabbit
20.11.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>