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Activists say Poland breaches EU laws on logging in ancient forest

Activists say Poland breaches EU laws on logging in ancient forest
From Reuters - November 28, 2017

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland has repeatedly breached a European Union court ruling banning logging in the Bialowieza forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, environmentalists said on Tuesday.

Bialowieza, which straddles the border with Belarus, is one of Europes last primeval forests and home to its largest herd of European bison as well as unique birds and insects.

Last year the Polish government tripled the quota of wood that can be harvested in part of the forest - claiming more trees must be cut to stop a beetle outbreak - angering environmentalists and much of the public.

In July the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ordered Poland to immediately stop logging in the forest and, after seeing no response, warned last week that Warsaw would be fined 100,000 euros ($119,000) a day if it fails to prove within 15 days that logging has stopped.

Environmentalists from Greenpeace and Wild Poland said in a joint report published on Tuesday that since the EU court ruling at the end of July, until the start of November, logging had continued in habitats of protected species and included 100-year old trees, which was contrary to the court ruling.

The clash over the ancient forest is one of many between Polands nationalist-minded Law and Justice (PiS) ruling party and the European Union, which is also concerned with Warsaw undermining the independence of Polish courts and the media.

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