The government has made changes to the project charter involving the construction of a gas pipeline through Vodno mountain, it was announced Wednesday.
The changes involve less trees to be cut than initially planned and the width of the gas pipeline route is cut down from 25m to 10m. The length of the pipeline passing through Vodno mountain is shortened by four kilometers, according to Minister of Transport and Communications Goran Sugareski.
“If the government and the City of Skopje have pledged money to afforest the Vodno Forest, we guarantee you that this is what’s going to happen. I think we have done everything to allow the construction of the gas pipeline on Vodno to continue. Non-governmental organizations were fully involved in the process. We deem the pipeline a strategic priority. We’ll double the compensation for even the slightest damage done during construction works. We, too, want to protect Vodno. It is our shared treasure of nature and we won’t allow to harm the environment in any way,” Minister Sugareski told a news conference Wednesday in the government’s press room.
Changes of the route will delay the project at least five years and will cost an additional 20 million euros, according to Bajram Rexhepi, Director of Macedonian Energy Resources (MER).
Deputy Environment Minister Jani Makraduli said that gasification would help reduce air pollution in the capital Skopje by 31%.
Furthermore, Skopje Mayor Petre Silegov said the city administration secured assurances that 43 million denars would be provided for afforestation of Vodno mountain on the outskirts of the capital Skopje.
Projected in 2015, a construction permit was obtained for the initial gas pipeline passing through Vodno mountain in December 2016.