The European Commission has told journalists it is worried about the Polish government’s illegal decision to triple logging in Europe’s oldest forest. The news came shortly after ClientEarth and six other campaigners lodged a complaint with the Commission to protect Białowieża.
Iris Petsa, spokeswoman for the EU Department of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “The Commission decided to contact the Polish authorities to make sure that the proposed interventions are in line with EU law. Based on the replies received yesterday from the Polish, the Commission will decide on any further steps.”
ClientEarth lawyer and author of the complaint, Agata Szafraniuk, said: “The whole forest is protected by Natura 2000, which defends Europe’s most vulnerable species and habitats. We told the Minister his action was illegal, but he didn’t listen. We cannot challenge this decision under Polish law, so a Commission complaint is our last resort. We urge the Minister to reconsider before this irreplaceable forest is lost forever.”
The government said cutting more trees is the only way to stop an outbreak of bark beetle. However, most scientists disagree, and 130,000 Poles have called on the government to protect the forest from more logging.
New petition launched over illegal decision to log Białowieża
A new petition to defend the forest has been launched, gathering 12,000 signatures within just a few hours. It is essential to show Polish national support for protecting Białowieża, so the petition is only available in Polish at the moment. However, an English language petition is also gathering strength, with 26,000 people from around the world already signed.