Gov’t eyes to exempt huge projects from eco-tests
Zeynep Gürcanlı ANKARA / HürriyetThe Turkish government has taken a surprising step to prevent any future cancellation of giant infrastructure projects due to their possible harmful impact on nature and the environment with a new draft law proposal.
“The projects (and the accompanying buildings and facilities) that were put in the investment program before 23rd June 1997 and that have already been planned or tendered or started to be built or operated by the day when the law (draft which has just been opened to discussion) enters into force are exempt from the environmental impact assessment (ÇED),” according to a draft law, which was just introduced for discussion yesterday.
The draft article would prevent the cancellation of the billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects, such as the third bridge, the third airport project in Istanbul and the nuclear plants, on account of possible harm caused to the environment. Under current conditions, an environmental impact assessment (ÇED) report is a must for such projects. If a ÇED report shows any possible harmful effects of a project, the project is cancelled completely or required to be updated based on the ÇED report. As long as there is no positive or negative assessment on environmental impacts of such projects, any granting of incentive, approval, permission or use cannot be given, according to the existing law numbered 2871.
The Turkish government had tried to annul the obligation for huge projects to be subject to ÇED reports before. The initiative, however, was prevented by the Council of State (Danıştay) following protests by various environmentalist groups.