The area of Lidzbark Warmiński, untouched by industry, will soon be disrupted by the construction of the power plant. The farm of photovoltaic screens will cover 167 hectares. The residents of the area where it will be built are devastated. – The past six months have surprised us all, suddenly there is a boom in photovoltaic energy – says Marek Werbicki, mayor of the village of Ignalin.
– We only found out about everything that was planned here after the environmental decree was issued. No one spoke to us – outrage Aleksandra Wojtal, a resident of Ignalina. – Just look at the map. If something surrounds someone’s property on three sides, people who are inside lose their life achievements – argues Werbicki.
Mrs. Aleksandra and her husband Marcin lived in the village of Ignalin with the idea of running agritourism. Today, they fear that building a farm next to their home will frustrate their plans. Photovoltaic screens should be placed only 45 meters from their property. – We gave up our old life and invested everything here. We wanted peace, quiet and nature. What is already unique in today’s world – explains Aleksandra Wojtal. She and her husband are delighted with the animals they see here every day. – Roe deer, elk, cranes, foxes, hares: we see it all here. And in a moment photovoltaic screens will be installed here – regrets Mrs. Aleksandra.
The information about the investment was a shock to them. – I responded by crying. We wanted to create a place where we could receive guests. Our plans had to stop now because we don’t know what’s going to happen. No one comes to rest in the middle of the power plant – argues Wojtal. – When all this is flooded with a sea of glass and metal, there are simply no green spots. And there will be nowhere to go – adds the woman.
Józef Chomej is the neighbor of the Wojtal family. The farming family has been associated with Warmia for generations. – It’s a priceless place for me, I was born and raised here. My children and grandchildren were also born here. We would like to pass this heritage on to younger generations. It is about proximity to nature and animals. In the spring, when birds fly, people live on them – says Józef. – If a power plant were built, my sunrise would just be screens – adds the man.
The opinion of the residents
Documents related to the construction of the power plant were approved by the mayor of the municipality of Lidzbark Warmiński. – The application is submitted to the municipality, we have to ask other authorities if they give a positive or negative advice. It is about the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Olsztyn, Sanepid and Polish waters – says Fabian Andrukajtis, Mayor of the Municipality of Lidzbark Warmiński.
Why did the officials not take the vote of the residents into account when issuing the decision? – We didn’t ask them because there were announcements. It may not be quite right, but we should be looking at a non-rubber budget. As of today, we will contribute four million zloty to education. And if there is a positive agreement between the Directorate-General for Environmental Protection in Olsztyn and the Sanepid, like Polish waters, the municipal administrator has no right to issue a negative opinion – argues Andrukajtis.
When planning the construction of a photovoltaic farm, the investor was obliged to submit an information card for the project to the municipality. According to the residents, the document has been made unreliable and the number of animals has been underestimated. – We have about 166 hectares of land and they write that there are about ten moles. This is what I have in my garden, in one place. A moose family lives here, we even saw a baby moose being born. We saw it from a distance – says Mrs Aleksandra.
The report submitted to the municipality was prepared by the company Eko-Efekt at the request of Solaris Industria 4, located in Zamość. The report’s authors declined to speak on camera because their power of attorney had expired. The document prepared at the request of the investor has been reviewed by the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Olsztyn. Is it possible that the agency’s inspectors did not verify the information provided?
– Although there are minor typographical errors in the inventory report, they have no significance for our substantive decision – says Justyna Januszewicz from RDOŚ in Olsztyn. We asked the spokeswoman for the institution if she knew how, for example, the number of moles had been examined. – Birds and amphibians are important here. We are dealing with nature that is dynamic, responds the spokeswoman. And she added: – We know what species to expect in this area.
Residents protested the document. – These amounts of fed animals are ridiculous. In my opinion, the biodiversity of animals here is much greater. There are beavers, deer, roe deer, swans, cranes, mallards, geese, storks – Józef Chomej lists. – We get the impression that the author of the report has no problem with the place – says Marek Werbicki.
– We had no reason to refuse this venture. The most valuable natural habitats, protected within the Natura 2000 area, are located no less than 5 km from investment plots. As many as 40 hectares will be excluded from development with photovoltaic panels and left as ecological corridors – says Justyna Januszewicz.
“Let Them Understand Me”
We agreed to talk to the co-owner of the leased land about the unwanted investment. Will it be possible to convince the promoters to withdraw from the planned venture? – I can understand them, but also make them understand that I want a tenant who pays me the rent regularly and I will be sure of this income – says Beata Pawłowicz. And he declares: – I will do everything I can not to bother them. However, I will certainly not give up the investment. If the whole lot is 190 acres, then 100 acres, can’t it be 50 acres if I get a building permit? Could be.
What about animals? – And what? Did you see I’m a training financier. I already have an established business plan – says Pawłowicz. – You cannot ruin the life of a community for the sake of one person – says Marek Werbicki.
The co-owner reacts to the protest of the residents: – And I don’t want many other things and have no influence on them. I don’t want to have any problems with this farm, and I have – says Pawłowicz.
– I can’t imagine how anyone can be placed in the middle of this kind of investment. Our house has been here for 200 years and we really wanted to introduce something unknown here. We respected the place, let’s respect the places where we live – exclaims Mrs. Aleksandra.
– We are all proud of Warmia and Masuria, that they are the lungs of Europe, and now it becomes the Warmia of photovoltaics, something terrible – concludes Józef Chomej.
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