The Serbian Administrative Court has annulled a decision concerning preparation of the environment impact study for future hydro power plants (HPPs) on the Lim River, in southern Serbia. Activists and NGOs have welcomed the decision as a step towards halting the project.
In May 2017, the Administrative Court of Serbia annulled the decision on the scope and content of the impact study for HPPs Brodarevo 1 and Brodarevo 2. The lawsuit was filed by a group of local NGOs who consider that the construction of a dam on the Lim River on the border with Montenegro would represent a threat to the environment, ecosystem and health of citizens of Brodarevo and other towns and villages in the area.
The Renewable Energy Venture (REV) has been trying to obtain a permit to build a dam on the Lim River since 2008, against which the activists and NGOs from Brodarevo, Serbia and the region have been fighting for years.
The Canadian renewable energy company has been engaged in the development of a 59.1 MW hydroelectric project at Brodarevo. REV is a subsidiary of Reservoir Capital Corp.
Sreten Đorđević, a legal representative of the coalition of non-governmental organizations from Brodarevo and Prijepolje, told Balkan Green Energy News that the Court’s decision does not halt the project, but rather complicates further procedure for the investor. He estimated that the verdict has prevented the illegal obtaining of permits and consents.
Đorđevic said that the Court’s decision does not prevent the investor from starting procedure again, but that it is practically back to the start, reminding that it has been trying to obtain consent for years.
As he explained, the impact assessment process consists of three phases: deciding whether it is necessary to carry out an impact assessment, which is obligatory in the case of large dams; determining the scope and content of the impact study, and in the end, preparing the study and granting approval.
Determining the scope and content of the study is very important step, because it is crucial to include all important segments for environmental protection, he said, adding that the issue of cross-border impacts has been also raised due to the proximity of Montenegro.
Two years ago, the Administrative Court of Serbia abolished the Serbian government’s decision from 2013 to give consent in relation to the environmental impact assessment study. In February 2006, REV launched again the procedure.