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Despite the High Court’s Decision, Construction of Hydropower Plants Continues in the Valbona National Park

Will competent authorities react?

Sounds of illegal construction reverberate throughout the Valbona Valley National Park as heavy machinery works hard on two hydropower plants that will further degrade the river and the beauty of the Albanian Alps.
 
In July this year, after years of legal struggles by the residents of Valbona Valley, the High Court decided to suspend all construction works on the mentioned hydropower plants. According to the ruling, the suspension of works is to remain valid until the Administrative Court rules whether the construction of hydropower plants was done in compliance with the law. The Administrative Court is yet to make a decision, making the current hydropower construction inside the national park illegal.
 
“Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that the investor is completely ignoring the court decision. As residents in the area can witness, illegal activities have been going on for some time. It is also worth remembering that these projects were not transparent from the beginning, without proper public hearings or consultation. To make things worse, they forged people’s signatures and thwarted the procedure that is in place to protect national and public interests. People’s trust in the rule of law in Albania is at risk when investors disregard the Supreme Court’s decision as if the law does not apply to them”, says Rea Nepravishta from WWF Adria.
 
“It has been proven beyond any doubt that small hydropower projects cause damage disproportionate to the electricity they produce. Albania is over-reliant on hydropower as the main source of energy and the government should look towards other sustainable and renewable energy sources, in particular solar”, she concludes.
 
Will competent authorities react? How long do the local communities need to suffer illegal activities and usurpation of nature? WWF Adria calls upon all relevant authorities to enforce the High Court’s decision and stop all illegal construction work in the national park. The country needs to look towards more sustainable, nature-positive solutions to its energy demands, putting the needs of nature and people first.
 
Construction of Hydropower Plants Continues in the Valbona National Park

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