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A LOCAL MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND EUROINTEGRATION IMPLEMENTATION OF PILOT ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PLAN OF ECOLOGICAL ZONE "SOFIA-EAST"

 

PROJECT SUMMARY

The Pilot Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for Ecozone "Sofia e East" is prepared for an urban/rural area of 135 km2, situated to the east of the city of Sofia and Sofia Region. Land use in the area is varied and complex and includes high rise housing blocks, small satellite villages, industry and warehousing, highways and transport networks, agriculture and forestry, quarries and landfill sites. The area contains also Sofia Airport, Vrana Park botanical reserve and palace complex, Sofia East heat/power station and part of Iskar and Lesnovska rivers.
The EMP was developed by a consortium ESBI&STALKER-KM Ltd under PHARE Programme /Ministry of Environment Project - BG 9310-03-05-05 in 1996-1997.

The Pilot EMP proposes a Model for Sustainable Development and Eurointegration of Sofia and the region, defines Pilot Projects and a Structure for their implementation. Immediate, Medium Term and Long Term Objectives are outlined, along with the stages of Project Activities required to achieve them. The first three stage, consist mainly of collecting and collating existing environmental data, creating contacts with the authorities, society groups, business enterprises and other parties. Next stages consist of elaboration of the Model, defining the mechanisms for its implementation, formulating the main direction for rehabilitation and prevention measures and choosing the leading Pilot Projects.

 

PROJECT RESUME

The implementation of the EMP and the Model will be a major task of a new created NGO - Agency for Sustainable Development and Eurointegration - ECOZONE "SOFIA", in close collaboration with the Sofia Municipality and the Ministry of Environment and Waters.
In general the Ecozone is an urban/rural area, with population of 105 000 (1 200 000 for the city of Sofia), which has been subject to major urban sprawl and industrial development. It is also traversed by major motorway routes, railways, contains international airport, and is affected by Kremikovtzy Metal Works. The Ecozone total area is 133.5 km2. Of this, 30.5 km2 is built-up area (housing quarters, industrial zones, airport, etc); about 1.9 km2 is covered by water courses, lakes ; the "Kremikovtzy" metallurgical plant industrial slime depot and sand quarries cover 5.1 km2; 2.4 km2 is in use for railway lines and roads, and 1.2 km2 is Vrana park. The remaining 92.4 km2 is cultivated farmland.
The Ecozone has serious economical and production potential, and measures for future sustainable
industrial development, will be a priority. Main objectives - reduction of primary materials use, energy efficiency, use of environmental friendly technologies, reduction, control and taxation of environmental pollution, public health, improving quality of life, establishment of a civil and information society.

The Pilot EMP is based on the assessment of the current environmental conditions in the Ecozone, and the proposed remedies to the problems encountered. It proposes sustainable and environmentally acceptable practices and alternatives in the industrial, agricultural, energy, housing, transport and recreational sectors in the Ecozone, using a GIS base system (developed as Pilot Project F1).

The EMP will also aim at the minimization, prevention and remediation of environmental pollution by proposing realistic time-scales for introducing the requirements of EU environmental quality standards and emission limits. It will thus facilitate the increased harmonization of Bulgarian and EU standards and the integration of Bulgaria into the EU.

Existing environmental data for the Ecozone has been collected, where available, to outline the present status of each issue, the objectives to be achieved, the conflicts being experienced and the actions required to achieve sustainable solutions to these conflicts.

The environmental issues of Population, Land Use and Land Ownership, Industry, Energy, Infrastructure, Recreation, Tourism, Transport, Ecosystems, Cultural Heritage, Air Quality, Surface Water Quality, Ground Water Quality, Soils, Geology, Seismology, Hydrogeology, Waste, Noise and Radiation were examined.

The issue of land ownership is under elaboration, while the economical climate still does not allow either development control or pollution abatement measures to be much effective. These questions need time and much efforts and coordination between authorities, to be resolved. One of them aims of the EMP is to establish special regulation norms for the Ecozone,  facilitating the sustainable development investments.

The measures proposed in the Pilot EMP are divided into three groups to be initiated in sequence over a three year period: Recovery measures; Preventive measures and Consolidation measures.

Preventative measures include the definition of local sustainable development indicators, programmes for environmental monitoring, public health, waste management, energy efficiency, the creation of a Regional Information Centre with training seminars, workshops/courses, the formation of control groups/"green patrols" and levying "green taxes" and the further definition and testing of the Local Model for Sustainable Development.

Consolidation measures include information management to support the Sofia City Municipality and the Regional Councils, forecasting models, the preparation of a Sustainable Development Programme for Sofia City and a National Strategy for Sustainable Development.Priorities are defined for both European/National and Regional /Local measures. The work programme is divided into five stages, with and overall period of 3 years. Concrete activities are defined for each of the stages.

As local sustainable development indicators are not defined nor in European Union, nor in Bulgaria, local indicators will be established / based on these of UN and the OECD/.  During a period of two years their objectivity and correctness will be monitored and improved.

Monitoring of Public Awareness and a Sociological Programme for the Ecozone is outlined. The Sociological Programme includes research into the relevance of the indicators of sustainable development, into the expectations of the population and its readiness to participate in the EMP and the collection of statistical information.

15 Pilot Projects, are proposed to remediate some of the adversely environmentally affected areas and to demonstrate the practically new technologies, practices and local management mechanisms in the Bulgarian context. Additional projects may be added as the EMP progresses The administrative structure has 3 levels of authority: National Government, Sofia Regional and Municipal Administration, Local Municipal Authorities (Iskar, Slatina, Mladost, Pancharevo, Kremikovtzy). Part of the area is in the Elin Pelin Municipality. See Map B1 - Map Appendix. The need of approximation to the laws and standards of the European Community is determined.

The EMP ,the Model and Projects could therefore be used as a model for other similarly affected urban-rural areas of Bulgaria. The Model will be a fruitful realisation of the aims in the National Programme "Bulgaria 2001" and the EU Commission "Plan 2000".

An NGO - Agency for Sustainable Development and Euro-integration - "Ecozone Sofia" was  created end of 1997, to undertake the implementation of the Pilot EMP and the Model for Sustainable Development and Eurointegration. The Agency has the consent of the Mayor of the city of Sofia and the Municipal Council of the Capital, of the regional mayors and councils, as well as of the Government - the Ministry of Environment and Waters.  It is of particular importance that the support and the participation of the EC PHARE Programme, as well as the support of other international institutions, be available.

Proposed Legislative Measures have to support the Agency and the EMP.

The Agency for Sustainable Development and Eurointegration - "Ecozone Sofia" will catalyze and take part in the planning the tender documentation and competitions, the coordination and the sustainable development orientation of Pilot Projects realization.

 

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