Posted on 18 July 2017
Romanian NGOs call on the European Commission to take immediate action
Bucharest - A protected Natura 2000 area in Romania - Defileul Jiului National Park - is threatened by old construction permits for hydropower infrastructure not conforming with the latest environmental requirements and EU law. The planned project will destroy 33 kilometres of the Jiu River gorge and will harm the park ecosystem. WWF-Romania together with local NGOs call on the European Commission to take immediate action.
In a letter to the European Commission the NGOs expressed their concern that the planned constructions in the Defileul Jiului National Park will significantly threaten the achievement of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Nature Directives. The hydropower project foreseen in the Jiu Gorge involves major structural interventions, including an underwater deviation channel, as well as significant water withdrawals - more than twice the multiannual average flow, leading to impacts on scenery and loss of species of European interest, such as certain fish species, otter and bear. Virgin and quasi-virgin forest on the slope will also be severely impacted.
The existing hydropower project obtained its environmental permit in 2003, but the work was suspended for many years due to lack of funds. In 2016 the project was re-started ignoring EU legislation such as the Water Framework Directive, the Habitats and Birds Directives and the Environment Impact Assessment Directive. Some of the current environmental requirements not taken into account in the plan are the designation of the park as a Natura 2000 site, the negative impact of the project on priority species and habitats, on the park ecosystem and ecological status of the water body.
WWF-Romania and the other NGOs call for revision of the old construction permit in Defileul Jiului National Park, and ask the European Commission for immediate action to ensure compliance with EU law.
People can support Defileul Jiului National Park by signing the petition (in Romanian): https://campaniamea.de-clic.ro/petitions/opriti-distrugerea-defileului-jiului