The Supreme Court Reversed Authorisation Proceeding of the Iliaš Hydroelectric Power Plant

In Iliaš, part of Banská Bystrica, the investor plans to build another hydroelectric power plant on the river Hron. Construction of the plant would be in contradiction with the city´s land-use plan in force. Moreover administrative authorities did not carry out any environmental impact assessment. Environmental associations together with local people and help of VIA IURIS thus brought the case to the court.

Nevertheless, the Regional court in Banská Bystrica rejected the complaint. The Court reasoned that courts do not review screening decisions because such decisions do not affect directly the rights of people. During screening proceedings it is decided whether the environmental impact of the planned activity will be assessed or not.

However, last week the Supreme Court annulled the decision of the Regional court. Reasons stipulated by the Supreme Court are very important also for the public. The Court stated that this administrative decision concerns the right to favourable environment and right to have timely information on the environment which are the rights belonging to all people. In consequence the Regional Court will have to decide again and this time respecting the opinion pronounced by the Supreme Court.

Small hydroelectric power plant in Iliaš would create a dam on the river Hron. Running water would become stagnant and that would deteriorate life conditions of water fauna and also conditions for the river tourism which has very well developed on the river Hron. Moreover on 30 km section of the river Hron with Iliaš included, there are plans to build various small hydroelectric power plants. Administrative authorities did not considerate that there exist much more acceptable alternatives to build hydroelectric power plants, than planned by the investor. In addition the plant is in contradiction with the land-use plan of the City Banská Bystrica in force.

VIA IURIS on a long-term basis has been helping people to protect the environment. “We are convinced that the best defenders of the environment in this country are people who live here and like their country. Given the fact that it does not concern their private interest but protection of the public one, we consider it is very important to support them,“ comments Imrich Vozár, lawyer cooperating with VIA IURIS. The hydroelectric power plant in Iliaš illustrates the problem of massive construction of small hydroelectric power plants on Slovak rivers. Against these projects in whole Slovakia there stood up coalition of local people, conservationists, fishermen, hunters and people loving rafting. They were united in their efforts to protect the country where they live and do not permit its destruction. And VIA IURIS helps them in these efforts.