Environmental officers crack down on illegal fences2015-04-14
Environmental officers carried out a raid on more than 200 water bodies on 13 April to identify illegal fences on the banks and have them removed.
During the Fence raid, more than 100 environmental crews inspected access to water body banks from land and water. The officers were assisted by volunteer environmental inspectors, officials of the national Environmental Protection Service, the National Forestry Service and employees of various protected territory directorates.
According to preliminary findings, the raid identified approximately 100 fences blocking access to water bodies that may be illegal. The largest numbers were found by the officers of the Kaunas (18) and Utena (14) regional environmental protection departments. In addition, approximately 50 other infringements were established, including illegal fences around forest areas.
“Even though large stretches of banks were freed to public access after similar raids last year, some of them still remain occupied illegally. We will not give up and will make sure that water bodies are accessible to everyone. We strongly urge those responsible to remove these fences voluntarily – this way, you will not have to deal with environmental officers on your properties and will not have to pay the penalties,” Deputy Environment Minister Linas Jonauskas said.
Illegal fences came under attack last year after prolonged and silent tolerance, when penalties were introduced for a series of associated environmental offences, such as violation of the ecological functions of water bodies, disruption of natural landscape, obstruction to the migration of animals, etc.
Residents face an administrative penalty of up to €289 for building fences that block public access to water bodies. If the removal orders are not respected, an additional penalty of €145 per meter of fence is charged on a monthly basis until the fence is removed.
The public can report illegal fences in forests and near water bodies using the Environmental Control Information System, where the exact location can be marked on the map.
Environmental violations can also be reported at the single emergency number 112, indicating the specific location, the name of the water body or forest, the distance between the fence and water and the reporting person’s contact details.
The raids will be continued throughout April.
Public Information Division