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Kaliska. Hundreds of trees were cut down near Łochów. The police are investigating

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Hundreds of trees have been cut down near Łochów. The resident claims that up to 600 of them could have disappeared, while the police counted almost 240 trunks. The plot belongs to the commune, and the lessee – according to officials – did not have a permit for felling. In turn, he himself assures that he has completed the formalities. The police are investigating.

The plot is located near the village of Kaliska, in the commune of Łochów, in the district of Węgrów. She informed the editor about the incident Contact 24 one of the residents. According to her account, on Monday, March 6, everyone was awakened by the felling of trees. – It made an unbelievable noise. When I woke up in the morning, it felt like my neighbor’s house was collapsing. A terrible bang. People began to leave their homes to see what was going on, said resident Agata Dąmbska in an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl.

Trees were cut down near her house. – The machine was huge. At the front, on the boom, she had tongs with which she grabbed trees and crushed them. They cracked, then they were packed into a chipper at the back of this machine and minced – she described the cutting of the apartment. – These trees have been crushed. This can be seen on this plot, in the field. There are torn off pieces of bark and pulp from the trunks, she said.

READ: They cut cherries from Wiśniowa. Only sad stumps remain.

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Tree felling near the town of KaliskaContact24

People began to count how many trees had been cut down. The task was not easy. – Some of the stumps remaining after felling were pulled out by the tenants with excavators, so in some places there were only holes. The trees whose trunks were left were counted, but how many were taken out is difficult to estimate. When we counted trunks and holes with our neighbors, we came up with about 600 trees – said Mrs. Agata. And she added: – the lessee took away 10 trucks of wood chips.

The outskirts of the Nadbużański Landscape Park

The area is very green. The area of ​​the Nadbużański Landscape Park stretches in the vicinity of the plot. – This area is its border. So you can say that under the noses of foresters they cut down trees. It is about 400 meters to their headquarters – Mrs. Agata described the location of the plot.

The area covers the Łochów Forestry Inspectorate, there are six Natura 2000 areas. Two of them are located near Kaliska. This is the area of ​​Ostoja Nadślicka and the Liwiec Valley. The first of them is the most valuable in terms of nature, next to the Bug valley, an area in the eastern part of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship. “Such a high rank is evidenced primarily by high biodiversity, concentration of protected and endangered species of plants, fungi and animals” – we read on the website of the Łochów Forestry Inspectorate. The Liwiec River also flows within the borders of these areas. As it was added: “More than half of the area is meadows and thickets, the rest is agricultural land and forests.”

The Liwiec River is also part of the second Natura 2000 area, i.e. the Liwiec Valley. According to the Forest Inspectorate of Łochów, it is “an important refuge for water and marsh birds, especially during the breeding season”. The river itself has a natural character, and the valley is dominated by wet meadows and pastures. On the other hand, alder and riparian forests occur on part of the area.

SEE ALSO: They cut down 268 trees from a private property. Some of the wood they kept for themselves, some they sold.

“It was a beautiful area”

A resident of Kaliska said that cutting down trees was a shock to her. – It is very green here, the entire Liwiec and Bug valleys are one big forest. We live in an enclave: we have a river, mushrooms, a meadow, forests. And suddenly someone arrives with a huge piece of equipment. For the inhabitants and people who have moved from Warsaw, it is very sad to see such devastation of nature – said Agata. – I used to come here on vacation when I was a child. I was playing hide-and-seek near these trees, and suddenly they’re gone. It was a beautiful area, people went for walks here, admired the sunsets, and today? Desert, the woman added.

Tree felling near the town of KaliskaContact24

Plot leased from the commune

The trees have disappeared from the plot belonging to the commune of Łochów. However, the land is leased by an individual.

– My deputy, when we found out about the felling, went to the site to see what was going on. He stated that in fact there are no trees anymore – says Beata Mech, head of the municipal economy and investment department of the office in Łochów.

The lessee, prior to commencing the felling of trees, submitted an application for a permit to the city office. However, the Office decided that the document was incorrect and that the person submitting it could not be treated as an ordinary natural person. All because the plot does not belong to the tenant, but to the commune. As Beata Mech explains, it was decided to apply for a permit in the same way as the commune does. – We have submitted an application for a tree felling permit to the starost. The lessee has been informed about this – explains Mech. As the official explains, when issuing such a permit, someone from the county office always comes to inspect the trees, measures them and watches them. “Issuance of a permit is never a foregone conclusion,” he points out.

However, before the decision of the staroste was made on this matter, the trees were gone. – The proceedings were in progress and did not end with a decision, because these trees were removed by the lessee – adds Mech.

Tree felling near the town of KaliskaContact24

According to officials from Łochów, the person who cut down the trees has been renting the plot since autumn last year. This is not the first tenant.

– This area has been used by farmers for a long time. These trees never bothered them, they grew on the outskirts in a separate part. Farmers planted potatoes there, rye also grew. There was a meadow where sheep and goats grazed. Suddenly, the trees began to disturb the new tenant – Agata Dąmbska was irritated, who believes that the commune was not sufficiently interested in the matter. – This plot has always been leased for agricultural purposes. If someone reported that they wanted to cut trees, it was the responsibility of the commune to go to the place, see if they were suitable for cutting and call the tenant to complete the documents, and not leave the matter alone, she added.

“We applied for permission to fell trees”

We also managed to talk to the landowner. As he explains, he signed the contract with the municipality in October. It concerned the exclusive use of agricultural land with a ban on changing its intended use. – The land was not marked as a forest, but self-sown plants grew on it. The contract says that it is to be not deteriorated and you can strive for improvement. We were just trying to improve. The felling of trees was to restore the whole to use, in accordance with its intended use and development – explains Mr. Kamil, the lessee of the plot, in an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl.

As he adds, he and his wife reported a desire to cut trees from December 2022. On December 1, they submitted a letter to the commune, referring to the provision according to which there is no obligation to obtain a permit for the removal of trees or shrubs if it is aimed at restoring unused land for agricultural use. – On January 4, we received a letter from the commune that we have to apply for a felling permit – explains Karolina, the wife of the tenant of the plot. He adds that it was about reporting trees with a thicker trunk.

– We applied for permission to fell trees and the commune had no objections. The mayor himself said that there will be no problem and we can do it so that it will be used for agricultural purposes – assures Mr. Kamil. On January 10, he submitted a letter to the commune regarding the felling permit, indicating the trees (and their perimeters) that he intends to remove.

– A day later, a person from the commune inspected the trees that we had previously measured and marked – says Ms. Karolina, who at the end of the meeting gave the official the notification. As Mr. Kamil assures, “the act requires the preparation of an inspection report, specifying each tree intended for felling. After the inspection, the authority has 14 days to raise an objection by way of an administrative decision.” “We haven’t received anything like that,” he says.

“The municipality did not comply with the formalities”

The lessee claims that after 30 days from the inspection, the commune did not present its position on the felling. “The absence of it is considered consent,” he says. At the beginning of February, he decided to cut down the previously reported trees, in order to start sowing on the entire plot in March. As he claims, the commune sent a letter to the Poviat Starosty as late as February 14, asking for permission for the felling. – We learned about the application to the staroste after the fact – says Ms. Karolina. Only then did the commune notice that other regulations regulate the consent to felling trees by natural persons, and others by commune authorities, the lessee reports and assures that as a natural person he fulfilled all his obligations, and the commune did not fulfill its duties as an administrative body.

Tree felling near the town of KaliskaContact24

We thought this cut would be no problem. If I had known, I wouldn’t have signed the contract. Alternatively, I would sign it if the commune made a second tender, separating the part with trees from the plot – sums up Mr. Kamil.

However, the municipality assured that the lessee was informed about the changes. – The statement that he was misled is not justified – says Beata Mech from the office in Łochów and adds that the lessee – between the inspection in January and the 30-day deadline for the office’s decision regarding trees – was notified of the application to the starost. – It was during a meeting. We have confirmation in the note, so it can’t signal that he didn’t know he was surprised. The lessee knew that it would go to the staroste – assures Mech.

– The case has been handed over to law enforcement. They’ll decide who was right. If they say the tenant had the right to cut down the trees, we’ll accept it. Although we have a different feeling – adds the official.

The case went to the police

On March 8, the police in Łochów, through the District Prosecutor’s Office in Węgrów, received a notification about the possibility of committing a crime by illegally felling trees in the Natura 2000 area. trees without a permit on plots owned by the commune of Łochów – reported Monika Księżopolska from the Poviat Police Headquarters in Węgrów.

On March 9, police officers and an employee of the Łochów commune inspected the place where the trees had been cut. The officers counted 239 stumps from felled trees. The species that have disappeared are pines, poplars, oaks, birches, alders, elms and willows. As stated, the plots are located in the buffer zone of the Nadbużański Landscape Park. – It is being determined with WIOŚ whether the plots on which the cuttings were carried out are in the Natura 2000 area – added Księżopolska.

The police said that the case is under investigation for the appropriation of someone else’s property, i.e. Article 278 § 1 of the Penal Code (“Whoever takes someone else’s movable property for the purpose of appropriation, shall be punishable by imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years.”). – The activities are carried out under the supervision of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Węgrów. Before their completion and the collection of evidence, we will not comment on possible allegations, Księżopolska reserved.

Also read: The tree took 114 years to grow. “No one thought to cut them down. Until 2023 came and the reason was found.”

They cut down a tree that was over a hundred years oldMateusz Szmelter/tvnwarszawa.pl

Author:Magdalena Gruszczyńska

Main photo source: Contact24

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