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Officials to re-assess plans for Bulgarian ski resort

Environmentalists have claimed for years that a large part of the Super Perelik resort in the Rodopi Mountains is part of a protected area and that its construction would affect exceptionally rich biological diversity which includes plants and animals species of European importance.

Now the Smolyan municipal council has announced that it will re-evaluate the overall construction plan for the ski resort which includes the urbanisation of 130 square kilometres, the buildings of hotels with 20,000 beds, parking areas for 8,000 vehicles and over 200 kilometres of ski slopes.

Part of the planning decision will be cancelled on a temporary basis until clarification can be sought. Campaigners against the resort claim that the EU could start legal procedures against the resort.

Let Nature Remain in Bulgaria, a coalition of 30 non governmental s hoping that action will be forthcoming and welcomed the intervention of the EU. 'This is an example of the benefit of Bulgaria's entry into the EU. It shows how important it is for the mandatory environmental assessments to be carried out, along with assessments of compatibility with the European environmental network Natura 2000 in the urbanisation of natural territories,' a spokesman said.

However the investor in the Super Perelik project, Kiril Asenov, said that work on the project would continue despite the decision to re-evaluate the construction plan. The cancellation of the partial decision, according to Asenov, will not affect the completion of the entire project and will mean amendments to the plan for villages around the town of Smolyen.

'The actual overall plan for the Perelik project has not been cancelled, it is being implemented. We are carrying out this ecological assessment. We are respecting everything, every step and every point by law,' he said.