Hron River threatened by a small hydropower plant without proper environmental assessment | WWF

Hron River threatened by a small hydropower plant without proper environmental assessment

Posted on 23 January 2018    
Hron River
© Združenie Slatinka
Bratislava – Local people, together with the civil society organization Rieka and Slatinka Association, and with the support of WWF, are appealing in court the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of a planned small hydropower plant on the Hron River in Slovakia. The middle section of the Hron recently became part of the EU’s Natura 2000 network of protected sites with the aim to improve the conservation status of the fish species.

"It is disturbing that the EIA of the small hydropower plant has not taken into account that it can negatively affect the Natura 2000 site. On the other hand, it shows how formally and inadequately the environmental assessment for this plant has been prepared," said Martina Paulikova of Slatinka Association.

"The construction of the small hydropower plant can have a significant negative impact on the population of the target species of the Natura 2000 site. The character of the aquatic environment will completely change from a free-flowing river to standing water. In addition, the plant will create a barrier for fish migration. Failure to evaluate these impacts breaks the EU’s Habitats Directive," emphasized Miroslava Plassmann, Coordinator for WWF in Slovakia.

The planned small hydroelectric power plant was also designed in contradiction with the territorial plan of the Banska Bystrica district, which includes a priority requirement not to reduce the attractiveness of the tourist waterway on the Hron River.

The construction of small hydropower plants threatens natural values ​​in other Central and Eastern European countries, where local communities and NGOs work together to save rivers. In December 2017, the Court of Appeal in Bucharest canceled the licenses to build a series of hydropower plants that could have destroyed the Jiu River in the heart of the Jiu Gorge National Park. The project has lasted for 12 years. More than 30,000 people have signed a petition to stop the construction works.

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