Bulgaria’s Environment Minister Neno Dimov said on July 21 that the country has reached a settlement with the European Commission in relation to a conservation lawsuit that Bulgaria lost in the European Court of Justice.
In its January 2016 ruling, the court found that Bulgaria failed to protect unique habitats and important species in the Kaliakra special protection area at the Black Sea coast.
The settlement, which Dimov presented to mayors of municipalities in the protected area, was described by the ministry as “the most beneficial for Bulgaria” and envisions blanket bans on new construction in the area – but existing projects that were built in the protected area, including six separate wind power parks and the Thracian Cliffs Golf & Spa Resort, would not have to be demolished.
Additionally, Bulgaria committed that the existing elements of the early bird migration warning system would remain in operation. The government will also have to present a roadmap towards the completion of that system. In the meantime, wind turbines in areas not covered by the early warning system would be turned off for the duration of the bird migration season, the ministry said.
As part of the settlement, the ministry will also have to step up protection of the bird habitats in the Kaliakra Cape area.
(Electricity power-generating windmills at wind farm Kaliakra, Bulgaria. Photo (c) Clive Leviev-Sawyer)