Integrated Annual Report 2015

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Approach to biodiversity management

Protected areas

The investment projects carried out by GAZ-SYSTEM affect protected areas. The total length of gas pipeline networks crossing protected areas is about 2160 km, which represents approx. 19.64% of the total length of the company's transmission networks.

Interactive map:

  • Key investments in 2015
  • Investment projects for the value ober 1 million PLN completed in 2015
  • Investment projects completed in 2015, by investment direction
  • Transmission network in protected areas
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In 2015, with regard to biodiversity management, the following activities were undertaken by GAZ-SYSTEM :

  1. definition and adoption of procedures setting out the guidelines for wildlife inventory and environmental assessment of areas affected by investment projects. The document constitutes a collection of basic criteria used in the process of environmental assessment of the area of the planned investment and its vicinity,
  2. environmental inventories along the routes of the principal gas pipelines being planned, i.e.: Goleniów-Płoty, Rembelszczyzna-Mory-Wola Karczewska, Strachocina-Pogórska Wola, Poland-Lithuania and Poland-Slovakia,
  3. environmental supervision during the implementation of key projects: Czeszów-Wierzchowice, Hermanowice-Strachocina and Szczecin-Lwówek as well as the Rembelszczyzna system point.

Environmental impact

In most cases, before the construction works can be undertaken, GAZ-SYSTEM has to obtain an environmental decision for the project. Typically, this involves the need for carrying out an assessment of the project's environmental impact. So far, such procedure was undertaken for 12 gas pipelines.

During project execution works carried out in 2015, 6 exemption from the prohibitions resulting from the Nature Conservation Act of 16 April 2004 were obtained by GAZ-SYSTEM for Czeszów-Wierzchowice and Szczecin-Lwówek gas pipelines. They concerned 95 species of plants and animals.

Zdjęcie Artura Kawickiego Zdjęcie Artura Kawickiego

In addition to the legislation, the principles of environmental protection during the project construction process are set out in two internal company regulations – “Guidelines for wildlife inventory and environmental assessment” and “Guidelines for environmental supervision”. Both documents developed on the basis of the most-current literature on the subject matter, and the need of their introduction was inferred not only from the statutory obligations concerning the environmental impact assessment and nature conservation, but also from prior cooperation with engineering firms and authorities. The first regulation could be seen as an introduction to the investment process. That is because it contains the rules of conducting nature observations in the field at a very early stage, the results of which are necessary for indication of impact mitigating measures, such as directional drilling, tree and shrubbery planting, fences for herpetological species or the timing of works. The solutions suggested by conservationists are then taken into consideration in decisions on environmental conditions, in construction engineering, and finally in the decision to grant a building permit. The successful permitting process does not, however, provide effective protection of the valuable ecosystems at the stage of project execution. For this reason, GAZ-SYSTEM monitors the compliance with the imposed obligations through, among other things, appointing environment supervision teams supporting contractors at all stages of the construction, and operating according to the later internal regulation mentioned above.

Artur Kawicki Head of the EIA Department, GAZ-SYSTEM

Species, opens in new tab occurring in the area within the impact of the Terminal construction, which have been considered to be under a threat of extinction, include:

  1. According to the IUCN red list:
    • animals: 146 species, including: 139 LC (least concern) species, 3 LR:lc species (lower risk: least concern species), 4 LR:nt species (lower risk: near threatened species).
  2. According to domestic red lists:
    • Polish Red Data Book of Plants – 1 CR (critically at risk) species,
    • Polish Red Data Book of Plants and Fungi – 1 VU (vulnerable) species; 1 EN (endangered) species,
    • Red List of Macrofungi in Poland: 3 EN (endangered) species; 2 V (vulnerable) species,
    • Red List of Endangered and Vulnerable Animals in Poland: 25 species, including: 4 CR (critically threatened) species, 3 EN (endangered) species, 4 VU (vulnerable) species, 3 NT (nearly threatened) species, 7 LC (least concern) species, 4 DD (data deficient) species.

Natural habitats for the onshore part of the Terminal, which are monitored during the construction include: wash margin on the sea shore, initial stadia of white dunes, white dunes, grey dunes, mixed and coniferous forests on dunes and wet inter-dune depressions. The area covered by the monitoring of the environmental impact covers the area within 100 m around the onshore part of the project, the stretch of beach and dune habitats adjacent to the offshore part and a reference area comprising a stretch of beaches and dunes located approx. 2 km to the east of the project site.

The investment in Świnoujście was designed in such a way that it harmoniously co-exists with nature. A systematic and detailed monitoring enables quick detection of changes, efficient response and prevention of risks. As part of the environmental supervision undertaken by Polskie LNG SA, the company carried out 61 surveys of biotic components (plants, fungi and lichens as well as animals), 24 hydrological and hydrogeological surveys, and performed 23 checks of waste management, air pollution and noise levels. Only in the period between March and the end of October 2015, the occurrence of individual reptile species was examined no less than 38 times. Inspections are conducted by specialists of individual branches of biology from a list pre-approved by the Regional Director for Environmental Protection in Szczecin. Environmental protection measures are implemented according to the “Plan of protective measures and the monitoring programme” developed by the company and approved by the Regional Director for Environmental Protection in Szczecin.

During the reporting period, nature monitoring was also undertaken for the Świnoujście–Szczecin and Szczecin–Gdańsk gas pipelines, which were put into operation, and will continue for the next 5 years. The monitoring of gas pipelines is conducted according to the methodology approved by the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection and covers the observation of: