Rospuda Valley finally saved from destructive road works!
On 24 March 2009 BirdLife International and its Partner OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) applauded the decision of the Polish Government to save the famous Natura 2000 site Rospuda Valley in Poland from destruction by road development.
The road development in question forms part of the controversial Via Baltica expressway which would run through several valuable nature areas. This particular section of Via Baltica had been routed through the Natura 2000 site “Augustow Forest” in North-Eastern Poland, which includes the unique mires of the Rospuda valley. BirdLife and other conservation groups all around Europe have been campaigning successfully to halt the road works.
The European Commission referred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in March 2007 for infringing the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive and asked for an urgent order to halt imminent construction works. As a consequence the Polish government stopped the works, but the threat for the valley remained until today when the government officially changed its position.
“This announcement is a great victory for Europe’s natural heritage and for all who care for it" —Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager of BirdLife International
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk now announced the construction of an alternative route for an expressway that will relieve the town of Augustow of heavy transit traffic without harming Rospuda. The new bypass will now be constructed close to the nearby village of Raczki.
Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager of BirdLife International stated: “This announcement is a great victory for Europe’s natural heritage and for all who care for it. Once more it has been shown that infrastructure development and Natura 2000 can go together, provided there is political will and respect for EU legislation. A lot of time and money could have been saved if such a decision had been taken earlier”.
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Credits: OTOP (BirdLife in Poland), BirdLife International