The Green Blockade of Struma Highway is Falling! Sandov’s Team Have Inscribed the Number of Figs, Turtles and Bears to Stop the Project
The Green Blockade of Struma Highway is Falling! Sandov’s Team Have Inscribed the Number of Figs, Turtles and Bears to Stop the Project

The National Council for Biological Diversity to Ministry of Environment and Water gave a new chance for finishing the Struma Highway yesterday.

At its meeting, the council adopted general, priority, specific and detailed environmental protection goals for the "Kresna - Ilindentsi" protected area and protected area "Kresna", as were the requirements of the European Commission. Exactly lack of accepted similar environmental protection goals is used as a reason to temporarily stop the action of the EIA for the selected eastern option of highway "Struma" on the last day of the cabinet "Petkov" the former ecominister Borislav Sandov, as another attempt by the "greens" to stop the implementation of the infrastructure project.

The chosen "eastern option" for passing through the Kresna gorge envisages that traffic in the direction of the tower on the Struma highway will be on the existing road in the gorge, which will be rehabilitated, and the traffic to Sofia should be in the eastern direction from the gorge.

After acceptance of the environmental protection goals, the completion of the the project, as the current EIA remains valid until May 2023, they explained for "Labor" experts from the road construction sector. The next step is to analyzed whether the approved highway completion option "Struma" corresponds to those accepted by the National Biodiversity Council aims. They were changed by the office after the former deputy - Minister Toma Belev bequeathed them a report requesting additional measures, however, based on manipulated data.

Thus, there is actually an opportunity until May 2023, after the analysis is prepared and in case that it shows that the finished EIA corresponds to the accepted ones environmental protection goals for Kresna, to sign the contracts with the chosen ones two performers. If the Struma highway is not fully completed by the end of this program period of the European aid - 2027, our country is taking a risk not only to lose funding for this last stretch of highway, but also to return the European funds received so far for the construction of the remaining sections. Or a total of nearly 1.6 billion euros.

The new route in the direction from Kulata to Sofia is divided into two sections. For The association "APP LOT 3.2.1", in which the companies "Groma Hold" EOOD, " European Roads" AD, "Bodno Construction - Blagoevgrad" AD, "Road Project EOOD and "Vakhostav-CK". The tender for the second section of the new route through Kresna gorge with a length of 10.4 km won the DZZD "AM Struma - 3.2.2.". In him participate "GBC-Infpactpyktyptypno ctoteltvo" JSC, "EPOC-Emppeza Portygeza de Obpac Cybtepaneac" JSC and "Glavbolgapctpoi International" JSC. The deadlines to complete each of the sections is just over 4 years or 1556 days, a the prices they earned in 2019 and 2020 are close to 500 respectively BGN million and BGN 475.2 million

According to experts, the advantage of the selected route, which divides the traffic through the gorge in both directions, is precisely the one-way traffic of vehicles funds, which will significantly reduce traffic in the gorge and the risk of incidents.

In addition, this option allows for considerable flexibility in the operation of the section, which is currently lacking. In case of incidents, accidents, natural disasters or other events affecting one lane, the traffic will be able to be immediately redirected to the other. This will allow a quick and safe response of the institutions as well as reduce traffic congestion and delays during this time. Furthermore the chosen option, according to the analyzes made, is also the most economical cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Sandov's team changed data to stop the project, lied about the habitat of protected species. They inflated the number of figs, turtles and bears. Ecologists exchanged data on the number and habitat of protected species, to stop the construction of the "Struma" highway through the Kresna gorge. In order to stop the project for the construction of the "Struma" highway, the eco-ministry during the administration of the former minister from the "Petkov" cabinet Borislav Sandov and his deputy Toma Belev changed data on the population and habitat of the protected species. This is clear from a letter written in August by the Chairman of the Board of the Road Agency infrastructure" (API) Ivo Ivanov in a comment on those proposed then environmental protection goals for the Kresna region, which were subsequently edited according to the real data and the requirements of the European Commission from the official cabinet.

The Ministry of Environment and Water has manipulated data, provided by external consultants to extend the coverage of green areas and to provide for more measures to protect protected animal species in places that are poorly suited or unsuitable for their lives. Like with these ones actions of the environmental department risked our country returning 1.6 to Brussels billion euros, which would be paid by all Bulgarian citizens.

In its August letter, the API explains in detail the weaknesses of the drafts reports from the "green" experts in the ministry. The most important ones remarks in the letter are specifically about deleting data collected from the employees external consultants ("Dikon Group" EOOD), incomplete use of available data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and even "unexplained changes in parameters and target values relative to those set by the experts who worked for "Dikon Group" EOOD (in some cases more than 50% or 100% of the original values)”. Like examples of changing the source data on which it is based the API report indicates the data on the habitats of the striped smock, the leopard smoky, the broad-tailed hawksbill, the spiny hawksbill and of the brown bear. The API also states that "key parts of initial reports, made by the scientists who worked on the fourth level of the Nature Protection Objectives. Entire sections are simply deleted without any logical reasoning being provided why exactly those paragraphs were removed. It immediately makes the impression that these are mostly texts containing specific information in the form of of data and figures”. Changed parameters regarding population size and on the habitat of striped smoke, leopard smoke, thorn-hipped turtle, spiny-tailed turtle, common terrapin, wolf, Brown bear. These are precisely the animals whose numbers (as it turns out significantly changed from the real one by "green" experts) environmentalists insist not to build the Struma highway on the eastern option, although according to our and foreign experts, it is perhaps the most environmentally friendly it is the fastest, cheapest and will save dozens of human lives.

In addition, information about the habitats of amphibians and reptiles, such as the "greens" have written that there are such throughout the the existing road through the Kresna gorge, and the truth is that these species are found fragmentarily by the roadside and can be easily predicted track crossing facilities.

"The reformulated passages completely change the semantic load of the text and change the essence of the conclusions", concluded the API. Or with others words "the greens" have handled the data like the devil reads the gospel and they are changed data to protect their original idea and stop the construction of the Struma highway.

Position of "Nature for people and regions": The proposals were in favor of foreign companies, no scientific data was used. A number of organizations have expressed negative opinions about what has been done work while the Minister of the Environment was Borislav Sandov.

Opinion on the work done by the former management of the ecoministry during the "Petkov" cabinet and the proposed ones

nature protection goals in the protected areas "Kresna - Ilindenci" and "Kresna" given by the National Civil Coalition "Nature for People and Regions".

"It is perplexing who, why and for what reason changed the developed ones 2 years ago, according to a methodology agreed and approved by the European committee, goals. We suspect that this was done for the benefit of NGOs with financial interests lobbying for foreign companies", reads the official statement of the organization.

According to the opinion of the National Civil Coalition "Nature for People" the amendments to the conservation objectives made by the former leadership of the ministry, "are not based on reliable scientific data". "In the "workplace group" that made the changes, no interested persons from the region, representatives of municipalities and local communities", stated by the organization. "There are reasonable doubts that the changes made are tendentially directed to fail the completion of AM "Struma" via The Kresna Gorge. As part of the process participants are associated with non-governmental organizations directly lobbying for a tunnel", according to "Nature for people". And they add that the changes were made in a period in which the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is Borislav Sandov, who "clearly expressed positions that a tunnel must be built”.

Negative opinion about the proposed changes during the former management of the eco-ministry is also provided by a National Association "Bulgarian Black Sea Coast". All these opinions have apparently been taken into account by the current leadership of the ministry.


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