The Bulgarian Court decided that Pirin National Park does not require an environmental assessment | WWF

The Bulgarian Court decided that Pirin National Park does not require an environmental assessment

Posted on 07 August 2017    
Pirin National Park is home to 294 rare species, 216 endemics, 176 relicts and 15 species included in the world and European lists of endangered species.
© Minka Stoyanova
Sofia – The Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria repealed the decision of the former Minister of Environment and Water which revoked previous decision commissioning that the draft management plan of Pirin National Park does not require an environmental assessment. In March 2017, the former Minister issued a decision stating that the draft management plan does not require an environmental assessment, a week later a second decision was issued by the Ministry repealing the initial act, and the latter was appealed in the court.

The arguments of the three-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court to revoke the second Ministry’s act are that there is no justification in it. The cancellation decision of the former Minister came after a public reaction to his first decision.

The new draft management plan of Pirin National Park allows construction on an area that is 12.5-times larger than currently permitted and could lead to commercial logging affecting nearly 60 per cent of the park (where currently allowed 0%). The plan would jeopardize the pristine nature and ecosystem values of the northern park territories as well as its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Now the Ministry of Environment and Water has to decide whether to appeal against the decision to a five-member panel of the Court. WWF urges the Minister to reconsider the controversial decisions on such an important issue for the European nature. Over 102,600 people around the world have signed the petition in support of Pirin National Park and the conservation of its pristine wildlife, sending a letter to the Bulgarian Prime Minister.
 
Note to Editor:
- Two national laws have been ignored in the first Ministry decision to not proceed an environmental assessment - the Law on Environmental Protection and the Biodiversity Conservation Act. Both require an obligatory conduction of environmental assessments of all plans providing structural changes and possible construction developments in natural areas.
- WWF launched an international campaign in support of Pirin National Park in November 2016: https://makeyourmark.panda.org/pirin 

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