Bulgaria to Probe Lack of Violations in Dunes Gate
Bulgarian Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, has asked the prosecutor's office to investigate all acts for changing the status and the sale of State-owned forest territories after 2003. Photo by BGNES
The probe in the administrative procedure to exclude lands on the Black sea coast from protected status and to sell them had not established administrative violations, according to Bulgarian Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov.
Naydenov announced the results of the probe at a special press conference Tuesday, saying the terrain that stirred a huge scandal in Bulgaria has not been listed as sand dunes in documents, but there were suspicions regarding the assessment issued in 2007 by the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Waters, RIOSV, in the Black Sea city of Burgas.
He noted the procedure was "moving" back and forth for three years between the Agriculture Ministry and the Executive Forestry Agency and then the needed papers for concluding the deal were received in just three days.
Naydenov further informed that the report from the probe has been sent to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to the Minister for Regional Development and Public Works, Lilyana Pavlova, the Minister for Environment and Waters, Nona Karadzhova, and to the new Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov.
Naydenov has further sent a request to Tsatsarov for an investigation of all acts for changing the status and the sale of State-owned forest territories after 2003.
His request is going to be examined by the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor's Office.
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, Prime Minister, Boyko 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 the special ad hoc committee.
One week ago, the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Lilyana 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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