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The Round table on discussion of the project "Improvement of environmental situation in basins of rivers Strelka and Kikenka".

On 16 January, the Round Table was held at the St.Petersburg Public Centre for Environmental Information on discussion of the project "Improvement of environmental situation in basins of rivers Strelka and Kikenka". The participants of the round table were representatives of NGOs Children of the Baltic, Centre for Environmental Initiatives, Baltic Federation of Fishermen, Youth ecoclub Domovenok and residents of the Lomonosov district of the Leningrad region.

expressed their concern about poor environmental situation in the basins of rivers Strelka and Kikenka. The participant NGOs multiply raised this issue in the media and in their statements to authorities. In this area, non-treated wastewaters are released from industry, agriculture and households, hydrotechnical facilities (dams) have been illegally built, and river courses illegally changed. Some water consumers heavily violate water-protection legislation. For example, the main water polluters - poultry plants Russko-Vyssotskaya, Lagolovo, and Skvoritsy - have obsolete wastewater treatment facilities, and have no licenses for release of wastewaters.

The project has adequate proposals on cleaning rivers and adjacent areas of garbage, and on reduction of wastewater releases. Another good proposal of the project is to introduce the basin management for rivers Strelka and Kikenka with participation of Administrations of the Lomonosov and Gatchina districts of the Leningrad region, and of Petrodvorets district of St.Petersburg.

However, the Round Table participants came to the conclusion that the project cannot be approved in the presented form, because, according to the Russian legislation, it needs to be revised due to the following reasons:

1. The priorities on the project aims are put in the following order: in the first place - 'reliable and high-quality water supply to the State complex "Palace of Congresses" with restoration of "water funs"'; and in the last place - 'and also improvement of the quality of life of residents in the indicated areas'. The NGO representatives consider that the interests of the population must be in the first place, and restoration of "water funs" on the territory of the Palace of Congresses - in the last place.

2. Along with measures on improvement of water quality in rivers Strelka and Kikenka, the project proposes to construct a water pipeline from Ropsha to the Palace of Congresses and to deliver a part of water from springs by this pipeline to fountains of the Palace park. This will not favour the improvement of environmental situation in basins of rivers Strelka and Kikenka.
On the contrary, decrease of water flow in these rivers will deteriorate the environmental situation in the considered region and can cause problems with drinking water in settlements of Strelka and Kikenka river basins. Besides that, this will require considerable unjustified financial expenses. Taking into consideration the wrong order of priorities in the project aims, it is very probable that only the pipeline will be constructed, and all other measures on improvement of environmental situation in the river basins will be ignored.

3. Nature protection issues have not been analysed in the project at all. In particular, the project does not analyse the damage from the proposed measures to biota of rivers and riverbanks. Such damage can be brought to the objects of fauna and flora from the Red Book of the Russian Federation. For example, Strelka and Kikenka river basins are habitats for sea trout, brown trout, and bullhead listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.

The NGOs remind that, in accordance with the Russian legislation and international Conventions signed and ratified by the Russian Federation, the project must include liquidation or reconstruction of hydrotechnical facilities that prevent migration of hydrobionts in rivers in the Baltic Sea drainage area.

The participants of the Round Table are sure that the present project must be revised with participation of experts in biology, but not only experts in hydrotechnique.

The leaders of NGOs Friends of the Baltic, Centre for Environmental Initiatives, Baltic Federation of Fishermen, The participants of the Round Table, leaders of NGOs, sent letters with their joint opinionand Youth ecoclub Domovenok sent letters with their joint opinion to the heads of the Lomonosov district Administration, the Engineering Centre of the Research Institution of Hydrotechnique, the Nevsko-Ladozhskiy Basin Department, and the Main Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection for St.Petersburg and Leningrad Region. They keep the right to initiate, in accordance with the Russian legislation, the process of public environmental impact assessment of this project.

For additional information please contact:
Olga Senova
Friends of the Baltic, Board Chairperson
Phone/fax: +7 812 4280658
Email: olga.senova@spb.org.ru

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