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Poland reverses to spare wetland

Source:  Copyright 2009, BBC
Date:  March 25, 2009
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Poland has proposed a new route for a disputed motorway to save a pristine wetland, the environment minister says.

"It appears there is an alternative... which is less expensive and just 2km [1.2 miles] longer than the originally planned route," Maciej Nowicki said.

The European Union took legal steps in 2007 to block construction of the road through the Rospuda valley, a protected wildlife area.

Poland will petition the EU to lift the injunction so work can begin next year.

Original plans to have a 16km (10-mile) section of the road cut through the valley on concrete pillars had drawn angry protests from environmental groups, including Greenpeace.

"Piercing the peat bog with pillars was certain to make it disappear," the environment minister told reporters.

The Rospuda Valley - one of Europe's last pristine wetlands - is home to many rare plant and animal species, including eagles, wolves, lynx and wild ...

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