Environmentalists react: Proposed legal amendments enable urbanization of villages in protected areas

The Environmental Citizens’ Association “Front 21/42” reacts to the latest amendments and supplements to the Law on Urban Planning that have been proposed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, for which this Ministry has not organized a public debate. The deadline for comments on the Draft-Law attached to the ENER expired two days ago, while “Front 21/42” has several remarks, reports Meta news agency.

 

Among them, environmentalists react that the proposed legal amendments enable urbanization of villages in protected areas without assessment of the environmental impact.

“The government is again enabling urbanization of villages in protected areas, like for example Skudrinje in the Mavrovo National Park; Lagadin, Ljubanishta and Elshani in the World Natural and Cultural Heritage in the Ohrid region – without assessing how it will impact the nature and without involving the public in this assessment process”, reacts “Front 21/42”.

At the same time, they also criticize that the legal changes enable automatic transformation of any type of land into construction land, if the same is within an urban project outside of an urban plan.

“According to the existing laws, in order to urbanize an area that is not within an urban plan, in and which there is agricultural land, forests, coastal area and similar, a process of converting land to construction land has to be carried out, which, on the other hand, is regulated by specific laws for the specific type of land (for example, Law on Agricultural Land, Law on Forests and etc.), explains “Front 21/42”.

The proposed amendments to the Law on Urban Planning disable citizens from disputing the urban planning programs, from submitting complaints against the solution for their approval.

Furthermore, “Front 21/42” reacts in that the new legal amendments for which the Parliament of the RNM is to decide, defines urban planning and implementation of urban plans as an activity of public interest.

“This seemingly minor intervention has the potential to wreak havoc on our nature. For example, the Law on Forests prohibits woods cutting and permanent conversion of forests, except under certain conditions, among which is also conducting activity of public interest. With the current law a forest cannot be destroyed for the purpose of implementing an urban plan/project, but the proposed amendments open this door”, is said from “Front 21/42”.

Environmentalists warn that if the amendments to the Law on Urban Planning are adopted, they can lead to even more havoc in the nature and in the cultural heritage of the country.

Otherwise, last year there was also a fierce reaction to the planned amendments to the Law on Urban Planning, with which then they proposed a supplement to Article 35, which leaves room for building according to a Detailed Urban Plan that is contrary to a General Urban Plan. Such amendments were withdrawn then by the Ministry of Transport and Communications at the beginning of last summer.

Translation: N. Cvetkovska

This post is also available in: Macedonian

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