A decaying log in Bialowieza Forest

More logging in Bialowieza Forest announced as Commission urged to act

More intense logging in the protected Białowieża Forest will begin in mid-April, Polish Environment Minister Jan Szyszko has told journalists.

This comes a year after ClientEarth and other environmental organisations filed a complaint to the European Commission. The complaint argued that the government’s plan to a threefold increase in logging in Bialowieża, which is the last primeval forest in Europe, is illegal. The Polish government did not assess the impact more felling would have on Białowieża Forest. This breaches EU law.

In June 2016, the Commission began formal infringement proceedings against the Polish government.

Agata Szafraniuk, lawyer with ClientEarth said: “The announcement by the Polish government is very worrying. It proves that the Minister disregards not only the law, but also Poland’s international commitments and the international community. Only last month Environment Commissioner Vella called on Polish authorities to stop logging as it raises serious legal and environmental concerns. The European Commission needs to take action this month if irreversible damage to this ancient forest is to be avoided.”

ClientEarth will continue to fight for this delicate and important ecosystem. Although the decision to increase logging in the Białowieża Forest has not been reversed, the Commission’s actions have ensured that large-scale timber harvesting has not started.

We urge the Commission to react before the end of April. If it issues a reasoned opinion – the last stage in the infringement procedure before the case goes to court, it will be the last chance for the Polish government to halt its harmful plans. Otherwise, the Commission will put the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Polish government could face high fines.

More than 160,000 Poles have signed a petition to protest against the increased logging in Białowieża Forest.

Share this...
Share on Facebook! Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn! Email!

Frank Vassen

Related articles

More from or

  • Bison to illustrate story about final EU court hearing on illegal logging in Bialowieza Forest

    Highest EU Court hears Bialowieza illegal logging case, hopefully for the last time

    The hearing that took place today at the Court of Justice of the EU should finally decide whether Polish environment minister Jan Szyszko broke the law when he allowed increased logging in Białowieża Forest. The verdict is expected in early 2018.

  • Poland, bison, and exemptions from nature protection laws

    ClientEarth is challenging two decisions allowing the killing of up to 40 bison in Eastern Poland. The European bison, an extremely rare animal, is under strict protection.

  • bison in bialowieza

    Polish authorities face fines of €100,000 per day over illegal Bialowieza logging, court rules

    The Court of Justice has today upheld the emergency ban on logging in Bialowieza Forest, saying it will impose fines of at least €100,000 a day if Poland’s Environment Minister keeps ignoring the Court’s decisions.

  • Bialowieza Forest tree trunk

    15 judges at the EU’s highest court to rule on illegal logging in Białowieża Forest

    Judges from the EU’s highest Court have heard arguments from Poland’s Environment Minister and the EU Commission on illegal logging in Białowieża Forest.

  • Follow us

    You can help

    Your support helps us use the law to protect your environment.