WWF Delighted with Bulgaria's Irakli Beach Court Battle Outcome

Society » ENVIRONMENT | July 10, 2012, Tuesday // 20:37
Bulgaria: WWF Delighted with Bulgaria's Irakli Beach Court Battle Outcome Environmental activists are pictured in 2006 collecting signatures against resort construction at the Irakli beach, a battle that has dragged on for six years. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

WWF has welcomed a decision by Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Court to declare illegal the construction of a resort complex in the Emine-Irakli Natura 2000 protected area on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.

On July 6, Bulgaria's Supreme Administrative Court conclusively declared illegal the initial stages of construction of a resort complex in the area.

The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the decision of the Burgas Administrative Court from September 2011 cancelling the illegal permit issued by Burgas Regional Environment and Waters Inspectorate to offshore investor Swiss Properties for the construction of the Riverside Village complex.

In 2008, WWF appealed against a decision by the Regional Environment and Waters Inspectorate to grant permission to offshore investor Swiss Properties for the construction of the resort complex.

"The permit that was granted for the construction of the Riverside Village by the Regional Environment and Waters Inspectorate was completely flawed", said Konstantin Ivanov, Head of Communications at WWF Bulgaria. "It took into consideration the environmental impact of separate buildings rather than the project in its entirety. At WWF we were quick to appeal it".

The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the decision of the Bourgas Administrative Court from September 2011 which canceled the permit issued by the Regional Environment and Waters Inspectorate.

"This case is indicative of the serious violations committed by both the private offshore company and the local municipality, which allowed this private company to destroy part of a protected area", Ivanov said in a statement.

The construction works in the Emine-Irakli protected area triggered European Commission infringement proceedings against Bulgaria.

The decision of the Supreme Administrative Court is final and cannot be appealed. The illegal construction, which was never completed, must now be removed and the area recultivated.

The long court battle for Irakli Beach was accompanied by persistent protests staged in Irakli and capital Sofia.

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Tags: WWF, illegal, construction permit, environmental impact assessment, protests, Burgas Administrative Court, VAS, Supreme Administrative Court, World Wildlife Fund, Swiss Properties, Riverside Village, resort complex, Irakli, NATURA 2000, infringement procedure
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