Bulgaria Ready with Protected Areas Legal Amendments
Bulgarian Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova. Photo by BGNES
The proposed texts for amending laws regulating construction in protected areas in Bulgaria are now ready, the Regional Ministry reported Wednesday.
The proposals are published on the Ministry's official internet page.
The work group which prepared the amendments was called on January 4 by Regional Minister, Lilyana Pavlova, on the order of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.
The scandal with construction activities on 29 decares of protected sand dunes between Ravda and Nessebar on the Black Sea coast erupted in the last days of 2012 when environmentalists said that the area was part of the Aheloy-Ravda-Nessebar protected area from the Natura 2000.
As a result, it became clear that the area was sold without a tender based on an older law that was in force until 2010. The new Forestry Act, passed in 2011, technically does not provide any way of selling State land without tenders but it said it allowed procedures that started before 2010 to be completed under the older law.
In the aftermath, Borisov ordered Bulgaria's Ministers of Regional Development, Agriculture, and Environment to update the Forestry Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Biological Diversity Act, and the Black Sea Coast Organization Act "so that such deals and construction projects couldn't be allowed."
The PM also vowed that all deals will be probed by a special ad hoc committee.
Participants in the work group have discussed the above Acts, leading to the proposals, which will be also published on the sites of the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment and Waters.
Comments on the amendments can be sent by January 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be subject to public debates in the Parliament next week, which will include all interested individuals, institutions, and organizations.
On Monday, Pavlova, pledged that legal amendments will be tabled ASAP to lead to a full ban on construction activities in Bulgaria on plots listed as sand dunes.
All procedures that have been launched for changing statute of protected lands, and that remain open, will be annulled.
Pavlova further promised to have more precise definition of the term "sand dune." The Minister of Environment and Waters has a deadline of one year to propose a list of dunes and adjacent terrains.
Construction will be further banned in all protected areas listed in Natura 2000.
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