From: Alice Taylor
Citizens Protest Construction of HPPs in Zall Gjocaj

Residents of Zall Gjocaj have protested in front of SPAK today where they have filed a report against a number of officials, including Minister of Tourism Blendi Klosi regarding proposed hydropower plants in the region.

They consider the construction of HPPs in the area illegal and told the media they will be continuing the protest that has so far lasted two years.

On January 25th, the Administrative Court of Tirana decided to continue the construction work on HPP Seke and Zais in the Zall Gjocaj National Park. This was despite the court stripping the companies of the right to generate electricity within a protected area.

The two plants received permits in October 2018. They are just two of around 100 that the Rama government has given permits to.

Residents of the local area have opposed the projects saying they would deprive them of access to water and damage the area.

Located in northeastern Albania, the area comprises over 202 square km and encompasses the former Zall-Gjocaj National Park and Deje Mountain. It was established as a National Park in 1966 to give protection to the various flora and fauna within. 

It is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a Category II and is home to brown bears, lynx, wolfs, pine martens, roe deer, golden eagles and beech, fir, pine, ash and maple trees. With its borders, it also contains twelve glacial lakes that were formed during the ice age.