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EC steps up procedures against logging in Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 28.04.2017 09:07
The European Commission has announced it will step up procedures against Poland as the country continues to cut down trees in the protected Białowieża Forest, in northeastern Poland.
Effects of logging in the Białowieża forest. Photo:Wikimedia Commons/Juan de Vojníkov.Effects of logging in the Białowieża forest. Photo:Wikimedia Commons/Juan de Vojníkov.

Poland's environment ministry said that the logging is in line with Polish and EU laws.

EC spokesman Enrico Brivio said that the response of the government in Warsaw to the European Commission's appeal to refrain from large-scale logging in the forest was “unsatisfactory”.

“That is why we have decided to move to the next stage” of procedures, Brivio said.

Warsaw was given only one month to respond to the EC's call, and not the usual two, because, as Brivio said, the matter was urgent.

Procedures against Poland were initiated last June, following a decision taken in March, 2016, to triple the harvest of timber and start logging in forests, including Białowieża, which were previously excluded from intervention.

The Polish environment ministry said this was a necessary move in a fight against a plague of the European spruce bark beetle, which feed on the trees.

It also said that logging activities are aimed “only at returning [the forest] to its state from the past when it delighted with its majesty and beauty”.

But the European Commission said excessive logging contradicted protection measures, and at the same time would irreversibly affect biodiversity.

If Poland does not react within one month, the case may be handed over to a top EU justice court, according to PAP. (vb/rg)

Source: PAP

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