Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI) filed a request for repeating the procedure for issuing a building permit, previously issued to an investor for the construction of a small hydroelectric plant (SHPP) “Zvonce” on Rakitska River. RERI requested a temporary ban on the continuation of construction, and temporary ban on all activities related to SHPP “Zvonce”, until the final completion of the process.
By insight at the document of Institute for nature conservation of the Republic of Serbia revealed the presence of a strictly protected species- stone crayfish, as well as a protected species of river trout in Rakitska River. According to the Law on Nature Conservation and the accompanying ordinance, the protection of stone crayfish is enforced by prohibiting the use, destruction and undertaking of all activities that could endanger it or its habitat. For this reason, it is necessary to carry out a procedure for assessing the impact of SHPP “Zvonce” on this type, in order to determine whether it is endangered by the construction and / or operation of a small hydropower plant, which was not properly done during the initial issuance of the building permit.
Although the investor submitted a request in 2013 on the need to carry out an environmental impact assessment, that request did not contain data and information on which basis the competent authority could decide on the need for an impact assessment study. On the basis of such (irregular) request, the competent authority made a decision declaring that an Environmental Impact Assessment study was not required for the SHP project.
As a signatory of the Standing Committee of the Berne Convention, the Republic of Serbia is obliged to protect a strictly protected species, and the Municipality of Babušnica is obliged (as the presence of the stone crayfish is established) to determine the obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment study and to re-decide on a construction application. permit for SHPP Bells.
RERI expresses its belief that the competent authority will act in accordance with its obligations and eliminate previously performed irregularities and immediately suspend all activities on construction and realization of the SHPP “Zvonce” project, until the completion of the repeated procedure of issuing a building permit.