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MOSCOW, February 18 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Federal Agency for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor) did not prohibit subway construction under Moscow’s Bitsa Park, a high-ranking official in the Moscow Mayor’s Office said.
Commenting on the media reports claiming that the environmental watchdog agency has prohibited subway construction under the park because the project has not been studied by environmental experts, Anton Kulbachevsky, Head of the Moscow Department of Natural Resource Management and Environmental Protection, said the statement cited by Rosprirodnadzor concerned legal aspects of the projects, not environmental ones.
Specifically, it noted a discrepancy between the city and federal laws with regard to the need for such examination in certain instances.
The experts concluded that the subway construction would not cause any damage to the environment. “We will build three ventilation shafts using the most advanced technologies and a trenchless method. Affected will be an area of only 120 square metres,” Kulbachevsky said.
The federal law does not require such examination for allotting this area for construction purposes. “This provision is contained in the federal law but it is absent from the regional one. And this is what was pointed out by the commission,” he said.
Over the last ten years, 200 hectares of land have changed their status of protected territory to be used for different purposes, mainly house construction. This practice was stopped late last year, and the city administration started correcting the boundaries of these territories. “We are not cutting them but only correcting for necessary projects,” Kulbachevsky said, adding that similar areas would be provided as compensation.
An appropriate amendment was made on February 17 in the Moscow city government resolution of April 10, 2007 “On the Approval of the Regulation on the Nature and Historical Park ‘Bitsa Forest’”.
The document allows capital construction of facilities not related to the use of the park as such except for several standalone or inbuilt installations on the surface needed for the operation of the subway system. The amendment has been signed by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
Kulbachevsky said the phrase “Sobyanin has allowed subway construction in the Bitsa Park” that has appeared in some media reports is incorrect and “is groundless as Rosprirodnadzor never prohibited anything and the mayor did not allow anything. He only made some amendments,” the official said.