Environmentalists win legal victory against second Polish coal plant

• February 18, 2013
Creative Commons: CEE Bankwatch Network, 2011

Creative Commons: CEE Bankwatch Network, 2011

Polish environmental groups won a major victory last Thursday when a court ruling in their favour over-turned the construction permit for a huge coal-fired power plant near the Baltic Sea.

The Polnoc power plant is the second major energy project in Poland to be held up by legal challenges on environmental grounds, a new trend for Poland where energy investments are traditionally allowed with little debate. If approved, the power plant would include two 1,000 megawatt coal-fired blocks. It was estimated to open in 2016 or 2017.

As Reuters Poland reported:

“The court overturned the (regional) governor’s decision regarding the construction permit,” a court official said. Kulczyk Investments, controlled by Poland’s wealthiest man Jan Kulczyk, plans to invest some 12 billion zlotys ($3.9 billion) in the project, making it the biggest private investment in the Polish energy sector.

A Kulczyk Investment’s spokeswoman said the judgment was a technicality in the planning process. “We are not changing our plans regarding the investment. The decision on the construction permit was overruled only on procedural grounds,” Marta Wysocka said.

Asked if the company would appeal, she said: “We are waiting for the written justification (from the court).”

Some local residents and landowners, backed by environmental campaigners, argued in court that the regional government, in
awarding a construction permit, had not followed public consultation procedures.

Commenting on the court decision, local environmental campaigner Olga Sypula said, “It will delay the investment.”

Read more: Reuters Poland >>

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