The Municipal Council of Dimitrovgrad in eastern Serbia has adopted a decision to propose the expulsion of all potential locations for the construction of small hydropower plants (SHPPs) from the local spatial plan, Južne vesti reported.
The 1987 cadastre for SHPPs envisages the construction of 12 facilities in the Dimitrovgrad municipality and although none have been built yet, all locations exist in the spatial plan.
The drafting of the new spatial plan is in the pipeline, and the decision of the Municipal Council is a proposal for SHPP locations to be excluded from the spatial plan.
Even though the municipal decision is not an act that will prohibit the construction of SHPPs, Dimitrovgrad Mayor Vladica Dimitrov hopes that the relevant ministries will take it into consideration.
The municipality opposes the construction of SHPPs on Mt. Stara Planina and in the Jerma Nature Reserve, seen as a major tourism potential for Pirot, Babušnica and Dimitrovgrad
Part of Mt. Stara Planina and the Mt. Stara Planina Nature Park, whose inhabitants started campaigning against the construction of SHPPs several years ago and founded the Defend the Rivers of Mt. Stara Planina movement, is on the territory of the Dimitrovgrad municipality. The Jerma Nature Reserve is also on the municipality’s territory.
Dimitrov said that the municipality opposes the construction of SHPPs on Stara Planina and in the Jerma Nature Reserve, seen as major tourism potential for Pirot, Babušnica, and Dimitrovgrad.
He noted that there are several reasons for the decision of the Municipal Council, ranging from the current state of the rivers and the streams to the impact on tourism.
The 1987 cadastre cannot be credible at present time as the water level of these rivers and streams is not the same as before, he said, adding that some of the rivers and streams are now at the ecological minimum, while in the summer some of them dry up.
Dimitrov said that the Jerma River canyon is a place where people from Serbia, as well as tourists from Bulgaria, come for a picnic.
It is necessary to build tourism facilities, not SHPPs because every intervention in nature would cause some problems, and therefore they shouldn’t be built, Dimitrov concluded.