The construction of hydropower plants in Kosovo has been accompanied by numerous legal violations and excesses, as well as damage to the flow of rivers, and often hydropower plant facilities have been built on public property.
These are some of the findings of a report drafted by a working group formed by the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure.
In this report, which was submitted a few days ago to the Minister of Environment, Liburn Aliu, provided by Radio Free Europe, all administrative procedures implemented for hydropower plants and their impact on water and the environment are reviewed.
The report recommends the cessation of operation of all hydropower plants that operate without environmental permits, as well as to investigate all officials for legal violations that have characterized the construction and operation of hydropower plants.
The working group also demands the repeal of all acts issued in violation of the law, as well as the imposition of a moratorium on the construction of new hydropower plants, until the approval of plans for the management of river basins.
If the findings of the report are taken into account by the Government, then most hydropower plants will be obliged to suspend their operation for an indefinite period.
Deçan hydropower plants with many violations
From the time the construction of the hydropower plants in what is known as the Deçan Gorge began, there were objections from the residents of the area, but this did not prevent the institutions, nor the local authorities from allowing their construction.
For the hydropower plants located in the course of Lumëbardhi in Deçan, in the report of the working group, it is concluded that in addition to damaging the river flow and not respecting the ecological minimum, there have also been legal violations in the construction of hydropower plants.
The buildings of two HPPs (Lumëbardhi II and Belaja), were built on water property in the immediate vicinity of the river, contrary to the Law on Waters (Article 48) 12, which determines the distance of at least 30 meters for the construction of facilities from the line of full (100-year-old waters) “, the report says.
Illegal to these hydropower plants has turned out to be an agreement for the use of forest land that the company Kelkos Energy, had signed with the Kosovo Forest Agency.
According to the report, hydropower plants have often intervened in the project without the consent of the Ministry.
“In HPP” Lumëbardhi II “changes have been made in the project without the consent of the Ministry, as required by the decision for construction permit”, the report states.
The working group also finds that the company Kelkos Energy, has illegally exploited the gravel from the location known as Zalli i Rupës.
Two of the hydropower plants of Deçan, “HPP Deçani” and “HPP Belaja”, have been built within the Special Protected Area of the Monastery of Deçan.
Regarding the hydropower plants of Decani, the working group has recommended to the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, to oblige the company Kelkos Energy, to be conditioned, among other things, by issuing an environmental permit for the construction of a dam on the lake in Zall e Rupa, as this there was also an agreement between the investor and the municipality of Deçan.
Numerous violations in the hydropower plants of ërtrpce
One of the main hydropower plants in what is known as the Lepenc cascade, which is the Brezovica hydropower plant, continues to operate without an environmental permit.
This hydropower plant, which is owned by the company “Matkos Group”, has managed to obtain water consent without meeting the water conditions.
This is one of the most important permits for the operation of hydropower plants.
“This water consent was issued without fulfilling any of the water conditions determined by the ruling dated 15/06/2015, these conditions are repeated with the ruling (Conclusion) dated 3/07/2015”, the report states.
Further, the working group found that “the construction permit for this hydropower plant was issued on water property, in the immediate vicinity of the river, contrary to the Law on Waters of Kosovo.”
Also another violation in this case was found in the granting for use of water property by the municipality of ërtrpce.
In addition to Brezovica, the working group has found many legal violations in the other three hydropower plants in the Lepenc cascade, the hydropower plants “Sharri”, “Shtërpca” and “Viça”.
“Environmental permits have not been issued for any of the four HPPs, but all of them are still in operation,” the report said.
For all these hydropower plants, it is recommended to suspend the operation until all the recommendations arising from this report are met.
The same violations in the hydropower plants of Brod and Restelica
The report of the working group found almost similar violations in the hydropower plants of Brod and Restelica in Dragash.
For the Brodi 1, Brodi 2 and Brodi 3 hydropower plants, only one environmental permit was issued illegally. Regarding the environmental permit, it has not been issued yet – despite this the hydropower plant operates in violation of Article 31 of the Law on Environmental Protection no. 03 / l-025 ”, it is stated in the report.
The other two hydropower plants “Restelica 1 and 2” and “Restelica 3”, were also identified legal violations and construction of water property.
Violations similar to these have been found in most other hydropower plants operating in Kosovo.
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