Nord Stream 2 AG, the developer of a new natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea, has reported that its environmental conservation measures at the Russian landfall are showing early signs of success.
As part of ongoing environmental monitoring, Nord Stream 2 and ECOPROJECT, an environmental and nature conservation consultancy, have reported that the protected plant species relocated in 2018 in accordance with Russian legislation are recovering well.
An onsite inspection carried out by the responsible authorities on May 17 has confirmed the results, the company said.
Feydor Stulov, head of Directorate at the Committee for Natural Resources (CNR) of the Leningrad region, said: “Following several onsite inspections in 2018 and now, with the start of new season, we can confirm that the relocation of protected plant species is successful, in line with the respective permits and the requirements of Russian legislation.”
Nord Stream 2 is implementing a broad range of measures to mitigate, compensate and offset potential impacts on the environment in line with Russian legislation and international standards. As such, the construction solution developed specifically for crossing the Kurgalsky reserve allows to reduce the width of trenches and construction corridor and related impacts by some 50 percent compared to the conventional construction methodology.
The pipelines will be installed by pulling the two strings in a flooded trench, which requires very limited equipment on site for pipeline installation, significantly lowering noise emissions and associated disturbances. The optimized construction schedule takes into account the critical periods for marine mammals, fish and birds.
Monitoring of protected plant species outside the construction corridor is ongoing.
Gregory Vilchek, permitting manager Russia at Nord Stream 2 AG, said: “All of our mitigation measures are based on international expert advice and local specialist experience. For example, relocation of moss Aulacomnium androgynum required special methodology; it was performed manually under the supervision of experts from the Komarov Botanical Institute. We are very happy with the results observed this spring and we will continue to fulfill our responsibilities to this protected area going forward.”
Сonstruction activities are being monitored by the competent authorities and three independent watchdogs. Project activities within the Kurgalsky reserve are being audited by VNII Ecology, a Russian research institute with special expertise on the management of protected areas. Royal Haskoning DHV, an international engineering and environmental consultancy, is retained as a watchdog to ensure compliance with international standards. ERM, a global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, and social consulting services, regularly audits the works against the project Environmental and Social Management System.