The ring-road of Mińsk Mazowiecki was prepared and is being constructed in such a way that there is no risk of losing EU funds due to environment protection. As early as in 2008, that is when the investment was prepared, the General Directorate of National Roads and Motorways acted in accordance with the EU requirements , despite the lack of full regulations in this respect in the Polish legal system.
Within the procedure of issuing construction permit, the influence on environment was analysed, and all solutions relating to environmental protection were included in the permit for the construction of the ring road of Mińsk Mazowiecki. From the moment when the environmental decision was obtained, technical solutions and the scope of investment have not changed. It means that the investment is being accomplished in accordance with administrative decisions that have been issued. Thanks to this, the financial support from the EU funds is not threatened.
In 2008 when preparations to begin the construction of the ring road of Mińsk Mazowiecki were made, the Polish legal system was not fully adjusted to the EU requirements with respect to environmental protection while accomplishing infrastructural investments. However, the General Directorate of National Roads and Motorways acted treating the EU law as superior to Polish law in order to protect the usage of the EU funds while accomplishing all its investments, including the ring road of Mińsk Mazowiecki.
For the purpose of issuing the decision on the permit for the construction of the ring road of Mińsk Mazowiecki an additional report on environmental influence was prepared – in accordance to the prerequisites of the Ministry of Regional Development. It has been attached to the application form and was consulted and analysed by voivodeship authorities. (Decision on the permit for the construction was issued in the so-called transitional period – before publishing the new assessment act, which introduced a possibility of conducting re-assessment of environmental influence). The report contained a detailed scope of works on particular stages together with giving precise solutions to protect the environment. In the report the following parameters of road constructions have been detailed:
The decision on environmental conditions necessary to issue the permission to accomplish the investment for the Motorway Ring Road of Minsk Mazowiecki along the route of the A2 motorway (WŚ.I.EM/6613/1/33/06) presuming the choice of the best variant in terms of environment was taken by Masovian Voivode on 2nd October 2006.
The decision was issued after completing the procedure of environmental influence assessment on the basis of a report on environmental influence. This document analyses and describes the investment accomplishment in II stages:
Stage I – as a construction of a ring road of Mińsk Mazowiecki with motorway parameters
The final stage II was to transform the ring road into a part of a motorway that connects Warsaw with Belarus.
It was assumed that at the stage I, two roadways each with two traffic lanes and a division lane of 5 m and a reserve of ground at the outer sides for the future third traffic lane would be constructed.
However, at the second stage it was assumed to adjust parameters of this road to the parameters of the future motorway A2 Warsaw – Kukuryki, that is 2x3 traffic lanes with a division lane of 5 m
Provisions concerning stages are to be found also in an environmental decision, in which it was explicitly stated that the investment would be accomplished in stages “(Two stages: 1. Construction of a ring road route. 2. Transformation of the ring road into a section of the A-2 motorway).”
In the decision on determining the location issued in 2008 (Decision no. 1/08 by Masovian Voivode of 4th January 2008 (mark WI.II-7047-D/329/07) provisions on the investment stages were detailed. The first stage was to cover the construction of 2 roadways, 2 traffic lanes each with a division lane of 12,5 m, and only the second stage was to cover the final layout (2 roadways, 3 traffic lanes each) with a division lane of 5 m.
Thanks to actions taken by the General Directorate, for example with respect to environmental protection, there is no threat of losing the EU funds for the accomplishment of road investments. It allows for the achievement of the planned level of the EU funds refund. The effect is visible – for example within the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment from the beginning of the Programme accomplishment till the end of April 2012 the European Commission refunded Poland 18.8 billion zlotys.
The General Directorate of National Roads and Motorways did not lose any EU funds, nor subsidising was suspended for any project due to not meeting the environmental protection requirements. It is also true for the S1 road Bielsko-Biała – Cieszyn, in the case of which in negotiations with the European Commission are in process. The result of these negotiations determines passing the final payment by the European Commission.
It stems out of the General Directorate of National Roads and Motorways experience that the transfer of the final payment may take place even 3 years after submitting the application for the final payment.