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Dovgulevschina industrial pig farm

Volozhin region / 2012 – 2013

In April 2012, local citizens realized beginning of construction of industrial pig farm in Dovgulevschina village. Expected volume of the farm reached 110 thousands of pigs; area 2.5 thousands hectares; investment EUR 32 mil. It was supposed to be the biggest pig farm in entire Belarus.

Some of the nearby villages were included in environmental hazard zone, what would limit their further development. Eleven families were proposed to be displaced. Close areas by river Yershovka are being used for eco-tourism, the environmental tours are known under title “Green Route”. There is part of famous Nalibog dense forest located in Volozhin region, important territory for rare birds’ species protection.

Centre for Environmental Solutions (SES) helped the citizens to understand permitting procedures and their rights. In connection with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, citizens started to demand public hearing. It finally took place in September 2012.

Experts of CES helped to prepare comments to EIA documentation and expressed many concerns. The biggest dispute was about the amount of the waste produced by new farm. Although investor stated 80 thousand tons of dung per year, independent expertise estimated up to 450 thousand tons. CES also conducted independent sampling of water near existing agricultural facilities and in the area of proposed one.

Massive involvement of local people in the case brought media attention, and the case was widely discussed. However, local citizens did not succeed to halt the construction because of lack of legal tools in Belarusian legislation, and particularly because they noted the project in too late stage of decision making process. The case anyway strengthened local community and opened public discussion about possibilities of citizens to impact large-scale industrial projects in their vicinity.