Officials from Bulgaria’s Forestry Agency, Bourgas regional inspectorate of environment and water and police have begun raids against unlawful camping on beaches.
The raids are being conducted in places on Bulgaria’s Black Sea that include sites that have made headlines over the years because of controversies about intended large-scale construction, such as Irakli.
A total of 14 areas are being checked. The authorities remained late into the night on July 29 at Irakli, where more than 100 people have put up tents, according to a report by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio.
There was litter and violation of environmental protection laws at the Irakli beach, the report said. Authorities issued nine penalty citations for violating the ordinance on forestry, three fines for breaching public order, while police issued penalties for illegally putting up tents on municipal territory.
On July 30, the authorities were to check Coral beach – also well-known for controversial attempts at development and for putting up hotel buildings in what has been among the few remaining relatively unspoilt spots along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast – near the Arapya campsite, Vromos and Alepu beach.
Alepu was in the news recently because of the mayor of Sozopol having blocked an old road in the area, causing public outrage. The blockage of the road was removed after Prime Minister Boiko Borissov phoned the mayor, according to a post on Borissov’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, at the Camping South site in the Bourgas region, the Regional Directorate for National Construction Control declared that four building permits in the area were illegal.
The campsite was in the news earlier this year when photographs were posted online of concrete foundations, and subsequent news reports highlighted other construction activities in the area.
Prosecutors said that the building permits for various projects in the Camping South area were gross violations of the provisions of Bulgaria’s constitution and infringed several laws. Permits had been issued for dune areas where construction is unlawful. Prosecutors said that the permits had been issued for state land where construction is not allowed.
The construction control directorate had notified Tsarevo mayor Georgi Lapchev.
Tsarevo municipality responded that the permits were issued in 2005, when “there were no proven dunes”.
The building permits concern concrete platforms, a hotel that was never built, a coffee shop and a restaurant.
Lapchev told local media that he understood that the investor had lodged a claim in court. If the court ruled that the construction permits were invalid, the municipality would move to destroy the buildings, that had been built eight to nine years ago.
An order already had been issued on July 14 to destroy concrete foundations, after Tsarevo municipality received cadastral maps showing these to be in dune areas where construction was illegal.
(Photo of Irakli: Svilen Enev)