Court Takes Two Decisions on Hydropower Plants in Valbona

The Administrative Court in Tirana has rejected the request of the inhabitants of four villages in the Valbona valley to stop the construction work on two hydropower plants in Valbona, arguing that there will be no immediate to the environment.

In the same session, it also rejected the request of construction company Gener 2 not to accept the lawsuit of the inhabitants against the construction of the hydropower plants.

On May 16, 27 inhabitants from Rrogami, Valbona, Dragobia, and Çeremi together with civil society organizations had filed a lawsuit at the Administrative Court to reject the government’s decision to approve the construction of two hydropower plants in the Valbona river. The court had suspended works until the session of today

The Valley of Valbona, covering 8 hectares, was declared National Park in 1996, just after the government had given out 11 concessions for hydropower plants in the river. Although 9 of those have since been overturned, the construction of the two remaining power plants would do incontrovertible damage to the ecosystem of the region and destroy one of the most attractive tourist areas in the country.

Prime Minister Edi Rama’s government has consistently refused to overturn the concessions, stating that “we have to pay in international arbitration much more than what you can imagine in your worst dream.” Meanwhile the Rama government is paying precisely that price in an arbitration case against another hydropower plant concession it had overturned in the river Vjosa.

Nearly all families in the Valbona Valley depend for their livelihoods on tourism, and the construction of the hydropower plants would most probably mean the end of their business.

The next session is expected to be held on June 14, and the Valbona inhabitants are positive that the court will agree to their request. Last month, the same court decided that another hydropower plant in the river Vjosa was illegal.