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Nowy Sącz. Cutting down trees for the construction of a railway line. Officials will notify the police

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Trees near the escarpment were cut down without prior notice or consultation with the residents – a group of Nowy Sącz residents warns. Officials announce that the matter will be reported to the police because, among other things, the nests of protected birds may have been disturbed during the breeding season.

The trees were cut down near Czarneckiego Street in Nowy Sącz (Lesser Poland Voivodeship) at the end of August. Residents argue that no one warned about the planned works. In the morning they woke up to the sound of chainsaws and fallen trees.

– We woke up to a reality that did not fully suit us. Without any information, without notice, trees were cut down before our eyes. Of course, we intervened with the men who carried out the felling, but unfortunately we did not receive any information. We learned from the man in charge of this felling that the documents are available at an address unknown to us. As we checked later, this address is a private house put up for sale – reports Monika Kolasa, a resident of one of the properties where trees were cut down.

Read also: “We are looking for the most beloved tree that unites people.” Two Warsaw oaks in the finals of the Tree of the Year competition

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Questions for PKP

The cutting is one of the stages of the construction of the Nowy Sącz-Chabówka railway line, which will connect the city with, among others, Krakow. Therefore, residents turned to the railways.

– We asked to present all documents. In the investment department PKP we asked why this felling is needed now, during the breeding season. We have not received information whether such documents are even in their possession. When we asked how they would secure the slope on which our houses are located, they said that a retaining wall would be built – says a resident of Nowy Sącz.

Kolasa says some houses are already collapsing. – These are monuments. The house where I live is a house from the 1930s, designed by a very famous architect from Nowy Sącz. You said that any construction plan (of the retaining wall) is scheduled for 30 months, the woman reports.

The tvn24.pl editorial team was unable to contact the spokesman for Polskie Linie Kolejowe.

Dorota Szalacha from the PKP PLK SA press team, quoted by “Gazeta Krakowska”, assured that “all work was performed in accordance with the procedures.” “All works are carried out in accordance with the agreement of May 11 this year and on the basis of the decision issued by the Voivode of Małopolska – determining the location of the railway line of June 3, 2022, which became final by decision of the Minister of Development and Technology of May 23 this year. The decision The location permit allows the occupation of land for investments or the performance of work on private land, but this is done for compensation also determined by the voivode,” Szalacha said.

“Nests have been violated”

Officials became interested in the matter. What caught their attention was the timing of the felling – during the bird breeding season.

– Unfortunately, we have materials that prove that nests were disturbed there. As for the situation with the birds, we can guess what happened, said Piotr Lechowicz, councilor of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.

The breeding season lasts until October 15.

Officials sent letters to the Regional Director for Environmental Protection.

– In response, the director pointed out, among other things, that there were no delegations in this regard. Yes, a decision was issued which ordered this felling to be carried out first, but after the breeding season. He stated that, in addition, in the event of events resulting in violations of prohibitions regarding protected species, the police should be notified. Unfortunately, as a local government unit, we must secure evidence and take possible actions – explains a local government official.

Birds, bats, insects

As Grzegorz Tabasz, director of the Environmental Department of the City Hall in Nowy Sącz, emphasizes, the local government “is definitely in favor of the railway investment connecting Nowy Sącz with Krakow being carried out quickly.”

– This is a necessary and essential investment. But we would like it to be carried out in compliance with the elementary principles of law. Residents know perfectly well that all issues related to tree cutting are always preceded by a procedure and a warning that cutting can be carried out during the breeding season under ornithological supervision – says the director.

Read also: They protest against tree cutting almost every day. “Our children will live as if in a desert”

Tabasz pointed out that the decision of the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection specifies in detail the conditions in which the investment is to take place in terms of nature.

– After inventorying the trees intended for felling, an ornithologist, a chropterologist (bat specialist) and an entomologist are to be present, because we are dealing with old and hollow trees that may be the habitat of many protected species. We know from the residents’ information that there were tawny owls, woodpeckers, little hoods and common owls – the official enumerates and adds that the residents provided him with photos of cut down trees with visible bird nests.

Patrol city ​​guardwho made a note at the scene of the incident, however, did not find the presence of any of the required specialists – not even a dendrologist who should have inspected the trees immediately before felling.

Officials announce that they will notify the police in connection with Art. 181 of the Penal Code, regarding causing damage to nature.

Art. 181. § 1. Whoever causes significant destruction in the plant or animal world shall be subject to the penalty of imprisonment from 6 months to 8 years. § 2. Whoever, contrary to the provisions in force in the protected area, destroys or damages plants, animals, fungi or their habitats, or natural habitats, causing significant damage, shall be subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years. § 3. The penalty specified in § 2 shall also be imposed on anyone who, regardless of from the place of the act, destroys or damages plants, animals, fungi under protected species or their habitats, causing significant damage. § 4. If the perpetrator of the act specified in § 1 acts unintentionally, he or she shall be subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years. § 5. If the perpetrator of the act specified in § 2 or 3 acts unintentionally, he or she shall be subject to a fine or restriction of liberty.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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