Limits on building renewable energy facilities on arable land still on the agenda - Bulgarian PM

Limits on building renewable energy facilities on arable land still on the agenda - Bulgarian PM

The Bulgarian Government was still mulling enforcing limitations on the construction of solar panels and wind turbine parks on most of the country's arable agricultural land from first, through to fourth category, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov was quoted as saying by Bulgarian-language Dnevnik daily on May 26 2010.Borissov, who took part in a round table discussion held by the German-Bulgarian Industrial Chamber of Commerce, said that the Bulgarian Government supported the construction of renewable energy infrastructure but not when this construction harmed farmers' interests.The Prime Minister said that many farmers had reacted negatively to the idea of construction wind parks on arable land because it would interfere with their work, Dnevnik said."I am ready to come and talk to you every day but you must know that Bulgarians are closer to my heart than the interests of foreign investors," Borissov told the round table.The idea of limiting construction of renewable energy infrastructure on arable land arose at the beginning of April when the Agricultural Ministry put forward an amendment to the bill for the protection of agricultural land.The amendment envisages curtailing construction of renewable energy infrastructure on arable lands and irrigation fields in order to conserve the lands for farming purposes.The exploitation of lands from first, through to fourth category, and the subsequent construction of renewable energy infrastructure on these plots, will be centrally controlled from now on, and not at a local or municipal level, as is currently the case.The proposal was backed by farmers in the Dobruzha region who want to end the erection of wind parks or solar panel parks on the rich soil of the northeast.Investors in renewable energy sources, on the other hand, agreed that arable land should be preserved for the agricultural sector, but were "categorically against the ban being implemented if it addressed the issue of wind parks exclusively".The Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, and other associated companies in the industry, responded that the "proposed new amendments to the agricultural bill are discriminatory against the industry".

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