14 december 2010

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov: Government commission recommends original Khimki Forest route for Moscow–St Petersburg motorway


Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov announced this decision at a government Commission on Transport and Communications meeting that had reviewed the motorway project between Moscow and St Petersburg.

According to Ivanov, the commission made this decision after reviewing "the entire range of variables including transport, economic, social and legal issues plus the estimated time needed for construction." The motorway project through Khimki Forest has provoked harsh disputes and protests from environmental organizations.

In addition, the deputy prime minister said the government intended to increase the compensation for environmental damage caused by motorway construction from 3 to 4 billion roubles. Mr Ivanov added that 500 hectares of forest would be planted to compensate for the 100 hectares felled during the construction. "We tried to take the most objective view of all the environmental implications of the motorway construction and decided not to build any highway support infrastructure on this eight-kilometre section of the motorway," the deputy prime minister said following the commission meeting. He pointed out that filling stations and other services would not be built in the Khimki Forest.