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S7 - Polish road construction in Natura 2000 site, Poland


The S7 is to be one of Poland’s main roads, running from the Baltic Sea in the north to the country’s southern border and connecting Poland’s major cities – Gdansk, Warsaw and Krakow. Planned since 2007, an investment project for a particular section of the road, between the town of Skarżysko-Kamienna and the Swiętokrzyskie–Mazowieckie region border, constitutes an objective violation of European law and environmental standards. The plans for the 8 km-long section in question include among others a junction called “Skarżysko-Północ”, where the environmental, financial, social and legal issues surrounding the planning process compound.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:S7 - Polish road construction in Natura 2000 site, Poland
State or province:Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship
Location of conflict:Skarżysko-Kamienna
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Establishment of reserves/national parks
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:protected area
Project Details and Actors
Project details

- 8 km-long section

Project area:4,662
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:50,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2008
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Infrastructure and Development,
General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways, a government body
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Investment Bank (EIB)
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Action brought on
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:New legislation
The investor decided to enforce the permit and moved forward with the process
Development of alternatives:Much of the negative environmental impact of this expressway section could be mitigated by abandoning the plans for the construction of the “Skarżysko-Północ” junction and instead providing for well-designed animal passages in its proposed location, which wouldn’t compromise the continuity of the ecological corridor. As proposed by the civil society, the new construction project should follow a different course from the one chosen by the investor and build on the existing road, thus minimizing the negative impact of the investment and expediting the works. In order to avoid similar situations occurring in the future, this issue should also
be addressed on a systemic level. Polish authorities must adhere to the environmental and administrative standards and laws put in place to protect the natural environment and mitigate the negative impact of infrastructure projects. They must also make their best effort to ensure the potential investors’ compliance with EIA regulations, particularly the independence of the impact assessment.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Natura 2000 network and Habitats Directive
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

S-7 – a road to nowhere (Briefing)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Ostoja Skarżyska
[click to view]

The Radom – Skarżysko-Kamienna Ring Road’s final section
[click to view]

[click to view]

Another Polish road construction in Natura 2000 site, another David and Goliath fight to save protected nature
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Katarina; [email protected]
Last update12/12/2014
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