Bulgarian Regional Development and Public Works Minister Liliyana Pavlova has asked prosecutors to intervene to ensure the revocation of all building permits in the Coral beach area on the country’s Black Sea coast.
This is the latest turn in a series of recent public controversies that have resulted from conservation groups and journalists establishing that illegal work was being done in ecologically sensitive and nature conservation areas.
Bulgarian-language website bivol.bg (no relation to Alex Bivol of The Sofia Globe) found that a construction permit had been issued illegally for land in a protected area where the rare Spring Snowflake plant species grows. Not only had the permit been issued, but also a stream had been covered over, that provided water to the field and the dense forest nearby, that is also meant to be protected.
After the Nessebur controversy a few weeks ago, in which it was found that construction permits had been issued for an area containing protected sand dunes, Bulgaria’s government said that it would ask Parliament to approve legislative amendments banning construction on all Black Sea sand dunes, irrespective of whether the land was publicly or privately owned.
Appearing on January 31 at a hearing by Parliament’s special committee on corruption at high levels of power, Pavlova said that the law did not allow her ministry to cancel all the building permits for Coral beach because they had been in force for a long time, so she had referred the matter to prosecutors.
The same committee was told by Environment Minister Nona Karadzhova that she was waiting for data from the Bulgarian Academy of Science on mapping the Black Sea, so that she could issue orders on protected areas in the region and prevent construction in the Kamchiya area. Data from a 2012 mapping of the entire country currently was being processed but she had asked that priority be given to the Black Sea area.
Earlier, Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov said that the prosecution was investigating the controversial deal to sell several acres of sand dune land near Nessebur by the Agriculture Ministry.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)