Euro-green protestors get upset about a planned bypass around the Polish town of Augustow.
Greens are campaigning about a planned bypass around the northeastern town which will cut through the wetland area of Rospuda Valley. As usual, Greens turn to the EU for help. Environmental Data Interactive reports:
In December 2006 the European Commission launched legal procedures against the Polish government for consenting to a series of eight road developments along the Via Baltica route which are likely to damage important and protected sites.
The road developments as they are currently proposed run through the Augustow and Knyszyn primeval forests and the Biebrza Marshes National Park.
These areas contain a broad array of threatened wildlife including wolf, lynx and white-tailed eagles.
The road - part of the E67, or Via Baltica - will form a major link from Helsinki to Prague and greatly increase trade in the area.
I was talking to Kasia today, who is from Augustow. She says that most people in the town are for the bypass. Currently around one and a half million trucks rumble through the town every year, causing traffic accidents and casualties, damage and congestion. Ironically, Augustow is known as a health resort – the pollution caused by the traffic is damaging that reputation and the tourism that it attracts.
The EU has many designated protected sites in Poland, mostly in the east of country – an area of economic underdevelopment. Of course, nobody would casually want to damage areas of beauty. But sometimes humans, and economic development, have to come first.
I think this is one of those times. Poland badly needs better road transport, which at the moment is the most under constructed in Europe.
We are getting to the stage where an abstract idea such as to what constitutes what ‘natural’ is is taking precedence over human development. What Poland needs more than anything is economic growth. The Eurocrats in Brusesels, and Green NGOs from all over Europe (mostly city dwellers who have a romantic, yet detached idea of what ‘natural is) are trying to slow down economic progress here.
I think its time they were told that birds and wetlands come second; humans come first.