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THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATERS STOPPED THE CONSTRUCTION OF SMIN WIND FARM THREATENING THE BIRDS IN COASTAL DOBRUDZHA
23.10.2013

Part of the turbines were going tobe located on the border of "Durankulak" SPA, which is fatal for the endangered Red-breasted Goose

By a decision of 14 October 2013 the Minister of Environment and Waters cancelled theEnvironmental Impact Assessment (EIA) decision of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters - Varna, authorizing the construction of a wind farm menacing the birds near Durankulak Lake. The cancellation came after a complaint by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) to the Ministry and the intervention of the Supreme Administrative Prosecution . During the EIA procedure for the approval of the wind farm a number of negative comments from NGOs and institutions (Green Balkans, NPNM –BAS, NNPS) were submitted, including BSPB data and results from field studies concerning the project area, but these were not taken into consideration by the Director of Regional Inspectorate - Varna .

The stopped wind farm consisting of 95 wind turbines would be built in one of the most intense parts of the migration route Via Pontica, dangerously close to a protected area of the European ecological network Natura 2000 . Some of the wind turbines were planned to be located a few hundred meters from the border of protected area "Durankulak Lake" - the core wintering areafor one of the most endangered birds in the world – the Red-breasted Goose . The wind farm would create a wall of turbines between the roosting sites (lake and sea) and the arable land, where the geese graze. The region of the Shabla lakes, particularly Lake Durankulak, are the only places where a significant part of the population of the Red-breasted Goose concentrates in winter. Between 50 and 100 % of the world population of the species find refuge around Duranculak lake, which is a natural site of European and worldwide significance.

"The decision by the Director of the Regional Inspectorate - Varna approving the construction of wind farm "Smin" was based on wrongly presented and interpreted biological and ornithological information and incomplete assessments of compatibility" - commented Stoycho Stoytchev , Director of Nature Conservation in BSPB . Residents of Shabla and the hunting group of Durankulak, with their subscriptions also disagreed with the construction of "Smin" wind farm. Against the wind farm pronounced experts from two of the largest and most respected environmental organizations in the world – the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). However, the director of the Regional Inspectorate - Varna, ignoring the views of local residents and authorities in the field of nature conservation, scandalously  approved "Smin".

The new decision by the Minister Mihailova returns the procedure to the stage of completing the report on assessment of the impact of the wind farm on the protected areas. The BSPB are grateful to the Minister of Environment and Water Iskra Mihailova and the Ministry experts for the annulment of the decision authorizing the construction of this dangerous wind farm. We hope that the government will find mechanisms to stop the construction of other wind farms in important bird areas that have received permission to be built on the basis of flawed procedures.