NEWS IN SHORT

Inspection Agency halts construction of new dump in Pezinok

THE SLOVAK Environment Inspection Agency (SIŽP) has ordered a temporary halt to building work on a new waste storage site in Pezinok. The project has led to protests by local people and questions over whether an official nominated by the ruling Smer party followed the proper rules, the ČTK newswire wrote.

THE SLOVAK Environment Inspection Agency (SIŽP) has ordered a temporary halt to building work on a new waste storage site in Pezinok. The project has led to protests by local people and questions over whether an official nominated by the ruling Smer party followed the proper rules, the ČTK newswire wrote.

SIŽP cancelled a decision from January by the Bratislava Environment Inspection Agency which had ruled that an appeal against the dump's construction should not delay the project, SIŽP spokesman Michal Štefánek told the ČTK.

"The decision of the Bratislava Environment Inspection Agency did not contain a proper justification for over-riding the delaying effect of the appeal," SIŽP wrote in a press release.

The prime minster, and leader of the governing Smer party, Robert Fico, promised at the end of February that the project would be reviewed.

The regional environment inspectorate in Bratislava gave the go-ahead in January after the Bratislava Regional Construction Agency had authorised the project. The construction authority is led by Ján Man, Jr, a Smer nominee who owns land on which a company (Ekologická Skládka) headed by his father, Ján Man, Sr, had planned to build the new waste storage site. Following protests against the proposed dump by locals, Ekologická Skládka handed the project to Westminister Brothers on February 19.

Pezinok citizens object to construction of the waste storage site because it would be only a few hundred metres from the town's residential areas. They also question why a construction permit for the dump was issued even though Pezinok's 2002 master plan prohibits it.

"It's a step in the right direction," Zuzana Čaputová, an activist with the Waste Heaps Do Not Belong In Towns citizens' group, told the ČTK newswire, referring to the decision of the Slovak Environment Inspection Agency. However, she pointed out that the final decision on whether to allow construction of the dump is still to be made.

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