Concern over wildlife halts building of Norway-Poland gas link

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COPENHAGEN, June 3 (Reuters) - Concern over the impact on protected mice and bat species has halted construction in Denmark of Baltic Pipe, a pipeline connecting Poland with Norwegian gas fields, Danish grid operator Energinet said on Thursday.

The suspension followed the rescinding of an environmental permit by a public appeals committee. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency had given the permit before it was sufficiently clarified if the animals would be protected during the construction, according to Energinet, which is building the pipeline in Denmark.

The environmental agency now needed to conduct further studies to asses whether the pipeline project would destroy or harm breeding grounds for the protected animals, the appeals committee said.

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Energinet said it would cease construction work until the necessary permits had been obtained.

The environmental permit for the 900-kilometre (560-mile) pipeline, designed to reduce Poland's reliance on Russian gas, was originally given in July 2019.

The gas link was initially expected to be completed in 2022, but it was not immediately clear whether the construction halt would delay the project.

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Reporting by Stine Jacobsen and Nikolaj Skydsgaard; editing by David Evans

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