Baltic Pipe Project Hits Snag over Mice and Bats Concerns


Baltic Pipe Project, a strategic EU infrastructure project led by Danish and Polish companies Energinet and Gaz-System to build a gas pipeline from the Norwegian part of the North Sea to Denmark and Poland, has hit a snag in Denmark over environmental concerns.

In 2019, the project received an environmental permit from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency to build the gas pipeline on land across Denmark. However, on May 31 2021 the country's Environmental and Food Appeals Board ruled to repeal the permit.

The Danish Environmental and Food Appeals Board has repealed the permit for the gas pipeline Baltic Pipe on land. 

According to the appeals board, as shared by the Danish transmission operator Energinet, the permit from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency did not sufficiently describe the measures taken to protect dormice, Nordic birch mice, and bats, that are protected by the European Habitats Directive Annex 4, during the construction of the 210-kilometer-long pipeline across Denmark.

Marian Kaagh, Vice President of projects in Energinet said: “We are surprised by the ruling by the appeals board. When we received the permit back in 2019 it was specified that we had to develop several remedial measures to secure good living conditions for the dormice, Nordic birch mice and bats, that live in some of the areas, Baltic Pipe will pass through. 

"Since then, we have been working on and implemented these measures, to protect the animals. The appeals board has ruled that all of these measures should have been described more thoroughly before the permit was given."Credit: Gaz System

Furthermore, Energinet said the appeals board found that the remedial measures in the permit were not sufficient to maintain the affected breeding and foraging areas at the same level as prior to the construction work.

"Energinet will now - in close contact with the authorities – clarify what consequences the ruling will have for the Baltic Pipe Project. Energinet is at this moment preparing a plan for a temporary shutdown of construction activities until the required permit is in place," Energinet said.

“The appeals board has repealed the permit and sent it back to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency for revision. We will now thoroughly examine what consequences this has for the Baltic Pipe Project and especially the construction in the places where the pro-tected Annex 4-species live. 

"Baltic Pipe is a major infrastructure project that span across Denmark. It is impossible not to affect the areas we work in, but we are fully committed to minimizing impact to both people and nature, and to secure good conditions for protected species during and after the construction of Baltic Pipe”, Kaagh said.

Last month, Polish gas transmission system firm Gaz-System, a partner in the Baltic Pipe Project, said that preparations were underway for the pipelaying work to begin on the Baltic Pipe project.

"In the summer, three specialized offshore units will begin laying some 274 km of gas pipeline on the seabed of the Baltic Sea," the company said at the time.

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