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Natura 2000 List For Southwestern Bulgaria To Remain Unchanged Chakurov

Despite protests of residents from southwestern Bulgarian towns, concerning the inclusion of areas in Natura 2000 European environment network, the list of terrains will remain unchanged, Environment and Water Affairs Minister Djevdet Chakurov said.

Residents of Bansko, Razlog and Dobrinishte have been protesting against the inclusion of land in the protected network. Razlog mayor Liuben Tatarski called only for the inclusion of lands located in Rila and Pirin national parks.

Chakurov said that some terrains, found within the three municipalities will also become part of the network. The national bio-diversity council took the decision on the protected areas, as well as on the buffer zones located nearby, said Chakurov.

Urban, industrial and resort areas will be excluded from the network, Focus news agency reported.

Arguments other than scientific analysis could not be used to determine Bulgaria's Natura 2000 terrains, said Chakurov. Investment interests were not going to play determining role, said he.

Criteria to be used for the determining of network areas were common for all EU member states, said Chakurov. He said that parties should refrain from manipulating people on the issue due to the lack of sufficient information.

Inclusion in Natura 2000 does not change land ownership. Specific construction bans are not to be imposed, said Chakurov. Evaluation procedures for projects, similar to the ones used at the moment, would be introduced to allow and ban construction plans, said he.