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Waste dump under investigation by European Commission

The European Commission (EC) will start a preliminary investigation of the permission granted to allow the opening of a controversial waste dump in Pezinok, Zuzana Čaputová from the civic initiative A Waste Dump Doesn’t Belong in a City told the SITA newswire.

The European Commission (EC) will start a preliminary investigation of the permission granted to allow the opening of a controversial waste dump in Pezinok, Zuzana Čaputová from the civic initiative A Waste Dump Doesn’t Belong in a City told the SITA newswire.

The citizens of Pezinok sent a petition with over 8,000 signatures to the European Parliament (EP) in November 2008 to express their objections to the construction of a waste dump in their town, pointing to the fact that the procedure of granting the permission was not in accordance with European law.

“It’s great news for us,” Čaputová told SITA. “When we receive the ruling of the Supreme Court, we will inform the EP about it. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court took our side, it still makes sense for the EP to deal with our petition.”

The Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the first instance authority in the proceedings about the waste dump violated the rights of Pezinok residents. Based on the decision by the Regional Construction Office in Bratislava, the Environmental Inspectorate permitted the waste dump, which is only 400 metres from the town centre, in January 2008. Inhabitants claimed that the construction office’s decision conflicted with Pezinok’s urban master-plan.

The ruling means that the procedure of granting permission for the dump will have to start from the beginning, and, according to Čaputová, any statement by the EP on the violation of European rules in the original procedure could constitute an important argument.

In the petition, the activists complained about how the Regional Construction Office in Bratislava made its decision and granted an integrated construction permit to the Ekologická Skládka company that wanted to build the waste dump.

The Construction Office excluded the public and other interested parties from the proceeding, with only Ekologická Skládka allowed to participate. For several months the office then refused to publish its decision, saying that it contained business secrets, which was subsequently revealed to be untrue once the decision was made public.

The activists complained about the violation of their right to give objections and suggestions, the violation of their right to information, the right to the protection of privacy and the right to a favourable environment.

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