WWF ASKED THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE AND THE GENERAL PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE TO CHECK PROJECT DOCUMENTS OF CYCLE-RACING TERRENKUR IN THE CAUCASUS MINERAL WATERS
Tender was issued
The story of the construction of the cycle-racing terrenkur on the territory of the Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary continues. The Stavropol authorities have issued a tender for the construction of the Cycle-track terrencur facilities (procurement number 0121200004721000005) in the Caucasus Mineral Waters on January 17, 2021 on the State Procurement website (http://zakupki.gov.ru/).
What’s wrong with the Project
In contrast to the unenviable fate of the
Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary, which may develop if the Project is implemented, the
perseverance of Stavropol officials can only be envied.
1. The tender was announced despite the decision of the Third Court of Appeal, which declared invalid the article allowing to revoke protected status of protected areas (Article 4 Part 8 of the federal environmental laws of Stavropol region "Concerning specially protected areas" No. 33-kz of 06.05.2014). Actually, the Government of Stavropol removed roads from the borders of the Sanctuary for the highway construction thanks to this article.
2. Ignoring court judgement also demonstrates the fact that the project documentation posted on the State Procurement website contains a direct indication of the absence of protected areas within the boundaries of the projected facilities (Book 1, Volume 6, Section 7, Article 1.3.10 of Environmental measures "the designed facility is not included in the boundaries of protected areas").
3. The documents do not correctly assess the compliance of the proposed construction with the goals and objectives of the Sanctuary, as well as the status of its environmental protection.
The Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ evaluation
WWF has applied to the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences to get an expert opinion on how the construction of the cycle-racing route will affect the nature of the Beshtaugorskiy Sanctuary (the conclusion is set out in the Appendix hereto). If you briefly describe the 5-page analysis - it is negative. Namely:
- it is wrong to call a concrete surface with a width of 8 to 12 meters "cycle routes". These are full-fledged roads with infrastructure;
- according to the diagrams attached, the route passes through the territory of protected areas, dividing the Sanctuary into separate sections;
- the withdrawal of land for construction contradicts the status of the Sanctuary;
- the land allotted for many infrastructure facilities has not even been withdrawn on paper, but it is planned for construction;
- the project does not cover the consequences of fragmentation of the territory and the risks to biodiversity in connection with the construction;
- the removal of trails and roads from the sanctuary is considered in the document for granted that does not require analysis (this is not the case);
- hydraulic engineering works will have an impact on all components of the landscape, which are unacceptable according to the Statute of the Sanctuary;
- the expansion of trails and roads will lead to the activation of slope processes, and due to the constant heavy rainfall, this will result in regular major repairs of infrastructure, which will have a negative impact on the fauna;
- lighting along the route will also have a negative impact on the animals of the Sanctuary;
- there is no assessment of the noise impact from equipment that removes garbage and the contents of public convenience facility on viewing platforms;
- security precautions and intervention strategies are unclear, taking into account the influx of tourists;
- the draft also contains factual errors (you can read more in the Appendix).
And in addition to the fact, the sanctuary is a habitat for 27 species of rare and endangered species of animals.
There is no awareness, but statute
One interesting fact, the Caucasus Mineral Waters are a truly unique object in Russia. This is evidenced by a number of decrees and resolutions by the federal authorities, the meaning of which for some reason is ignored by regional officials.
The Caucasus Mineral Waters - the only place in Russia with a special status of a specially protected ecological and resort region of the Russian Federation, which has federal significance within the boundaries of the district of sanitary protection. This status was granted by the President of the Russian Federation by Decree No. 309 of 27.03.1992.
But according to the Government Order No. 462 of 06.06.1992, damage and destruction of trees, shrubs, plants and other actions that violate the state of nature are prohibited on the territory of the Caucasus Mineral Waters without the consent of the established procedure.
In addition, the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation decided that "public security and law enforcement measures, as well as environmental protection, need to be strengthened in the region due to the high anthropogenic load on it " (No. 388-FС of 09.07.2014).
So far, it seems that all these decrees and resolutions were written not to help the Stavropol authorities, but AGAINST their actions.
What will be next?
At the time of publication of the article, the tender on the State Procurement website is suspended.
WWF-Russia is waiting for answers to appeals from the General Prosecutor's Office of Russia and the Russian Investigative Committee.