October 17, 2013 / 3:22 PM / 6 years ago

Bulgaria faces court over wind farm threat to birds

SOFIA (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday it would take Bulgaria to court for endangering protected birds by allowing wind farms and other developments along one of their migration routes.

The Balkan country had broken environmental rules by failing to protect habitats and highly threatened species like the red-breasted goose in its northeastern Kaliakra region, the EU executive said.

“Thousands of wind turbines and some 500 other projects have been authorized without adequate assessments of their effect ... on the thousands of birds and bats that fly over the site each year on their way to and from Africa,” it added, saying it would take the country to the European Court of Justice.

Bulgaria, seeking to avoid legal action from Brussels, has increased the size of an officially protected area in the zone on the Black Sea coast, which is also crossed by pelicans, eagles, buzzards and cranes.

Last month, Environment Minister Iskra Mihailova said her ministry had rejected a decision by a local environment commission to allow the building of a power park at Kaliakra, but a Bulgarian court has overruled it.

No one was immediately available for comment from the Bulgarian government on Thursday.

Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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