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The court debate on the reduction of the Vjosë-Nartë protected area for the construction of the Vlora airport begins

The court debate on the reduction of the Vjosë-Nartë protected area

Several Albanian environmental organizations said on Wednesday through a statement that they have started the judicial debate in the Administrative Court of Tirana on the issue of reducing the area of ​​the Vjosë-Nartë Protected Area for the construction of the Vlora airport.

The lawsuit was filed by the Albanian Ornithological Association (AOS) and several environmental organizations against the Council of Ministers, the National Council of the Territory, the Ministry of Tourism and the Environment, the National Agency of Protected Areas and the National Agency of the Environment.

According to the AOS organization, the plaintiffs, represented by lawyers from the "Res Publica" Center and the "Meçi" Lawyer Studio, presented all the arguments regarding the violations committed according to them for the reduction of the Narta area, evidencing the heavy impact on the local environmental aspects .

Among the main violations mentioned are those of national conventions on environmental protection, the law on protected areas, the law on the protection of biodiversity, the law on environmental impact assessment, the law on strategic environmental assessment, as well as any relevant national plans and strategies. or local resulting in the violation of the integrity of this important national and international area.

Representatives of state bodies have stated that one of the areas removed from protection in the Narta Zone was not because it lacked value, but because the government had decided to build an airport to serve tourism in the region and beyond.

According to the government authorities, the project basically envisages investment in the area where the old airport used to be, and the possibilities for the project to respect the rules for the environment have been seen.

The responsible state bodies requested additional time to submit the written information to the court. Meanwhile, in the next session on July 10, expert biologists of flora and fauna, as well as an expert of the GIS system, will be heard.

The Vjosë-Nartë protected landscape is, according to the evaluation of the organizations, one of the most important ecological systems in Albania, the second most important wetland in the country, home to important species of flora and fauna and part of several international ecological networks, the migration corridor of Adriatic Sea, with more than 220 species of birds.

The Standing Committee of the Berne Convention asked the Albanian authorities to suspend the construction works of the Vlora Airport and to undertake a comprehensive wildlife monitoring program and to review the Environmental Impact Assessment Report data for the area where it is being built. the airport.

The construction of the Vlora airport started in November 2021 by a consortium of companies, where 50% of the shares were owned by "Mabetex" of the entrepreneur Behgjet Pacolli, in partnership with the Turkish company, "Yda Group", which had 48% of the shares. while 2% belong to the company from Kosovo "2A Group Shpk".

In March last year, the Turkish company withdrew from the consortium and the Mabco Constructions Company took possession of 98% of the shares of the Vlora International Airport concession, after buying the shares owned by the Turkish company for 4450 euros.

Vlora Airport covers an area of ​​297 hectares with an estimated investment value of around 104 million euros.

A few days ago, in an activity for tourism, Prime Minister Edi Rama declared that the Vlora Airport would in all likelihood finish the works within this year.

"The airport will go through the test and certification period in the first 6 months of next year, and will be operational in the next tourist season with an operator whose name says it all, it's Munich airport," he said. Mr. Rama.

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