An article published in The Guardian today, highlights the devastating impacts of this planned dam on the Vistula river in Poland. The Polish government is moving forward despite warnings from scientists, non-governmental organizations and society as a whole.
Poland wants to build a new dam on the country’s largest river next to the village of Siarzewo, about 200km north-west of Warsaw. Its construction would cost €1bn. Siarzewo dam is seen as key to the international E40 waterway, aiming to connect the Baltic and the Black Sea.
Last August, the Polish Ministry of Climate and Environment revoked the environmental consent for the construction project after many shortcomings in its impact assessments were highlighted by Polish NGOs. Subsequently, the State Water Holding Polish Waters filed an objection to the court against this decision. Two months later, the court accepted this appeal, effectively reinstating the original, highly flawed environmental consent for Siarzewo dam. There is still no publicly available written justification for the court’s decision, but it allows the project to continue under ‘immediate implementation’ status.
“Environmental consent for Siarzewo Dam is highly flawed for the simple reason that the high negative impact of the planned dam on the environment is quite obvious and that this impact is not outweighed by the possible benefits. For several decades, the Polish scientific community has emphasised this many times.”says Andrzej Mikulski, hydrobiologist at Warsaw University, according to The Guardian.
There’s an outcry not only from scientists and independent environmental organizations, but also the general public and a well-known national poet protest against Poland’s plans. Two weeks ago, the European Commission also recognized the high costs and environmental impacts linked to the E40 waterway and did not include it in the proposed EU’s roadmap for future transport.
However, the Polish government still proceeds with construction plans. Siarzewo dam would be only one of 13 to 15 dams that would need to be constructed along the Vistula to make the E40 waterway passable for larger vessels.
No justified and reliable reason exists to build Siarzewo dam. Save Polesia partners will do all they can to save Polesia, Europe’s Amazon, for generations to come.
- Read The Guardian article “Polish court revives ‘highly flawed’ hydroelectric dam plan for Vistula River” which summarizes recent developments and different views on the construction of Siarzewo dam.
- Read our story “Siarzewo Dam – threat to Vistula river returns”
- Polish Minister revokes environmental consent for Siarzewo Dam, a key part of the E40 waterway
- Polish poet runs ultra-marathon for the Vistula river
- Movie “River Sisters”: Polish women stand against E40 waterway
- Swimmers protest against planned dam in Poland
- Comments from the World Sturgeon Conservation Society on planned Siarzewo dam
- Find out more about Polesia and read our factsheet ‘About Polesia – A unique wilderness of global importance’
- Learn more about the threats from the E40 waterway and read our factsheet ‘Polesia under threat – How a new waterway could destroy Polesia’s natural environment’
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*Top image shows natural sandbanks in the Vistula – Poland’s largest river, now threatened by Siarzewo Dam construction. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Krzysztof Kościesza Photography