4. März 2005

Russia blocks new environmental guidelines in Baltic Sea Region


Russia blocks new guidelines on requirements for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for harmful installations in the Baltic Sea Region,
at the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) meeting 1-2 March 2005.
CCB requests HELCOM to assess the problem of Industrial hog rearing farms in the Baltic Sea Region.

HELCOM adopted a recommendation in 1996, with requirements for EIAs for new harmful installations, to inform HELCOM and neighbouring countries, when planning for such new installations. Such information would give neighbouring countries a chance to comment and influence on restrictions for new installations with a transboundry environmental impact on the Baltic Sea environment.

Because of unclear interpretation of this recommendation, HELCOM has
developed draft guidelines on how to conduct an EIA procedure in a harmonized way, to be adopted by HELCOM 1 March 2005. This would give more precise requirements for information to be presented to HELCOM countries, when a new potential harmful intstallation, e.g. oil-terminals, oil extraction etc, is planned for.
HELCOM has for more than one year tried to develop new guidelines, but Russia stemmed the attempt at the HELCOM meeting. New guidelines will be postponed, at least until the next HELCOM Heads of Delegation meeting in June 2005.

The reason for such Russian position to delay the decision might be to avoid any environmental transboundary considerations with planned new oil-terminals and harbours in the Russian part of Gulf of Finland and Kaliningrad region the coming years.

CCB asked HELCOM to convey an assessment in all Baltic Sea region countries to get a clear picture on the environmental conditions at all small- and medium-sized (<> 2000 pigs) animal farms. Such industrial farms contribute considerably to the nutrient run-off and eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.
The CCB member organisation, Green Federation Gaja in Poland, has performed a study on environmental conditions at industrial pig farms in Poland, especially related to the implementation of the EU directive on integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) for industrial farms, and the EU Nitrate Directive. (Download the study, "Progress Report - Agricultural Pollution from Industrial Hog Rearing Farms in Poland")

The outcome of the study shows a bad implementation of the IPPC directive in Poland. Less than 50 % of the farms have applied for integrated permits and “fertilization plans” are missing for manure handling for many industrial farms.
-“The situation in Poland is disastrous. Most industrial pig rearing farms should be closed down immediately. They are operating only because regional environmental inspections tolerate this state and are still waiting for farms to adopt to the new regulations” - says Anna Roggenbuck, Green Federation Gaja

HELCOM accepted CCB's proposal and decided also to assess the implementation of existing regulations with regard to large scale animal farms in all Baltic Sea Region countries, and investigate the possibilities and need to develop BAT (Best Available Technology) description for smaller animal farms, not covered by the IPPC directive.

For more information contact:
Gunnar Norén, CCB Executive secretary,
phone +46-18-71 11 70, mobile +46-70-560 53 52;

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