Lumbardhi River. Photo: BIRN.

Supreme Court Suspends Licenses to Build Power Plants on Lumbardh

Permits to construct hydropower plants on the Lumbardh River in Kosovo have been suspended again, this time by the Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court of Kosovo has suspended permits and licenses to construct hydropower plants on the Lumbardh river of Decan.

The court approved the request for an extraordinary review of the court decision of the plaintiffs Faton Selmanaj, Xhavit Kuqi and Muharrem Lulaj.

On this issue, the Constitutional Court, which had made some remarks, returned it to the Supreme Court for review.

On January 16, the court, acting according to the remarks of the Constitutional Court, decided against the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal, which had decided in favour of the Ministry of Economy and Environment, MEE.

Faton Selmanaj, Xhavit Kuqi and Muharrem Lulaj had opened an administrative dispute against the MEE and the Energy Regulatory Office, ERO. They had asked the court to annul the decision of the ministry.

Initially, the Basic Court decided on the temporary suspension of the permits and licenses of Kelkos Energy, but the Court of Appeal, following the appeal of the MEE and the ERO, had returned the case to the Basic Court.

The Basic Court again suspended execution of the contested decisions until the merits of the case were resolved.

But the Court of Appeal then overturned the decision of the Basic Court and decided in favour of the appeal of the MEE and the ERO, respectively, revoking the temporary measure and allowing the operation of the hydropower plants for energy production.

In 2019, BIRN published an investigation highlighting the risk of damage to Kosovo river flows, endangering the supply of drinking water, as well as the destruction of the environment. 

Work on the Lumbardh River in the Gorge of  Deçan, and then on the Lepenci River in the Sharri National Park and in Lumbardh in Peja, alarmed many environmentalists.

Protests have also been held against the construction of the hydropower plants in Lumbardh, in the city of Peja, and there have been many reactions from civil society.

A study by Riverwatch on the rivers of the Balkans noted that 60 per cent of the rivers in the EU do not have a good ecological status, which has led to a dramatic loss in the biodiversity of the waters and its freshness.

18/01/2023 - 18:17

18 January 2023 - 18:17

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