European Court of Justice calls Polish government for immediate suspension of logging in the Bialowieza Forest. It means that not only is Minister Szyszko’s decision from March 2016 that allowed increased timber extraction in Bialowieza Forest District suspended, but also no old, dead trees all over the forest can be cut down. The ban on felling trees necessary for preservation of forest habitats and species is in force until the European Court of Justice resolves the case of the Bialowieza Forest.
To stop the logging the European Court of Justice adopted interim measures, which are granted by the Court in exceptionally urgent and serious cases that have to be decided upon with immediate effect. These measures are used very rarely and only when there is a threat of considerable and irreversible damage.
Coalition of non-governmental organizations (ClientEarth Prawnicy dla Ziemi, Dzika Polska, Greenpeace, Greenmind, OTOP, Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot, WWF) expects from the Polish government immediate implementation of the Court’s decision and suspension of the logging that has been taking place with unparalled intensity, causing more and more damage.
The decision of the Court confirms what the European Commission, UNESCO and majority of scientists emphasized before – it is the increased logging and not the spruce bark beetle that threatens protected forest habitats ad species, therefore the logging should come to an end before the devastation becomes irreparable.
At the same time, in the Forest protests of activists that come from all over the world are still taking place in order to stop the timber harvesting machines on the spot. The participants alarm that forest guards who were sent to the Forest from all over Poland to protect harvesters are becoming increasingly violent and often pose a threat to health and lives of the protesters.