Description of environmental impacts

The Szczecin–Lwówek gas pipeline is crossing the following Natura2000 protected nature sites: PLH 320005 „Dolina Krąpieli”, PLH 080071 „Ostoja Barlinecka”, PLB 080001 „Puszcza Barlinecka”, PLB 080002 „Dolina Dolnej Noteci”, PLH 080006 „Ujście Noteci”.
In view of the character of the project, all the nuisances to the natural environment are related to the construction phase. Installation of the pipeline involves cutting of trees and shrubs, occupation of land, construction drainage and also emission of noise as well as air, water and solid waste pollution. Nevertheless the range of the above mentioned impacts is restricted to the construction works strip of a width of 26 m. Additionally, the impacts will cease on completion of the construction works. During operation of the installation, impacts on the natural environment are only possible in the case of emergency failure. 

Nevertheless, due to the need to prevent negative impacts on the Natura2000 sites and considering that collision with these sites is not avoidable (three of them are located in meridian river valleys and the pipeline will be installed on parallel lines. In the case of the Puszcza and Ostoja Barlinecka forest reserves, collision arises from restrictions related to the existing land management patterns), the decision on environmental conditions for the project requires the investor to comply with the following requirements:

  • installation of the pipeline in the winter season, with maximum narrowing of the works strip, in all protected species habitat and occurrence sites (i.e. amphibians); 
  • cutting of the trees along the pipeline route outside of the bird breeding season;
  • preparation and construction works outside the bird breeding seasons (nesting sites of the black stork (Ciconia nigra));
  • application of trenchless technologies, including horizontal directional drilling in all areas, where the works collide with the Natura2000 sites;
  • limiting the width of the installation and assembly works in areas of protected habitats or occurrence of protected species;
  • transplantation of patches of the habitats of protected plant species and plants along the pipeline route after relocation to i.e. dry grasslands or hay meadows;
  • non-draining of earthwork excavations in locations, where alteration of the water balance may lead to destruction of protected habitats;
  • shortest possible opening of excavations in amphibian occurrence sites and application of adequate protection measures (i.e. fences);
  • performance of construction works under environmental supervision, including among other things inspection of biotopes before initiation of the construction work, transfer of endangered animals to safe locations, etc.;
  • use of existing hardened surfaces in siting material and equipment yards, access roads to the construction site, etc.;
  • use of “warm” spectrum light sources and sealed lamp casing to limit night time insect attraction;
  • environmental monitoring, including: inspection of the status and condition of natural habitats and protected species and adequate prevention and care measures to ensure sustainability of these habitats and species.

For prevention of emergency failure situations, which could cause harm to the protected species and habitats, the required measures include anti-corrosion protection (coatings and cathodic protection) as well as materials and technologies ensuring maximum tightness and containment (i.e. leakage test before commissioning of the installation for operation).

Detailed recommendations concerning prevention of negative impacts on the condition of habitats and species protected under the framework of the Natura2000 network (scope, subject and location) are covered by the concluding sentence of the decision on environmental conditions for the project dated January 17, 2011, Ref.: WOOŚ.II.4231.1.2011.SL. The justification of this decision observes that “the technical and organizational solutions assumed in the environmental impact assessment and recommended in this decision allow assumption that the project will not have a significant negative impact on natural environment, including the Natura2000 sites, both during implementation, operation and liquidation.” (see page 13 of the decision’s justification).

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