Spatial planning policy towards floodplains and environmental protection as obstacles to the development of settlements on the Lower Bug
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Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Al. Armii Ludowej 16, 00-637 Warsaw, Poland
University of Granada, Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences, Campus Cartuja, 18071 Granada, Spain
Submission date: 2022-12-09
Final revision date: 2023-02-23
Acceptance date: 2023-03-15
Publication date: 2023-06-30
Archives of Civil Engineering 2023;2(2):583-605
A little over a decade ago, a number of legislative changes were made in Polish law dealing with spatial planning in relation to floodplains and water management. More specifically, the amendments were a consequence of the adoption of the relevant Floods Directive by the European Parliament and the European Council in 2007, which was introduced as a countermeasure to the allegedly increasing flood risks associated with the ongoing urbanisation of floodplains. It was recognised that the risks of material and non-material damage associated with increasing urbanisation are so great that appropriate legal provisions must be introduced to reduce them. More than a decade has passed since the introduction of these provisions (the Floods Directive was adopted in Poland in March 2011). Over time, it has become apparent that the implementation of many legislative changes in Poland related to spatial planning in floodplains has been impractical and has had a very negative impact on the spatial and economic development of these areas. In this article we focus on the Lower Bug Valley and show how these new laws have led to a deterioration of the living situation in the floodplains. Indeed, the problem of economic decline in the floodplains and Natura 2000 sites is very serious and affects people who have lived for years in a 2–5 km wide strip in quiet surroundings flood-prone areas and along the river bend. Restrictions on livestock and the decline of agriculture are compounded by the lack of interest in acquiring habitats and land. These areas are becoming an open-air museum with residents living on social benefits and pensions.
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