Impact on the local environment and biodiversity
Formally, the investor is responsible for the project preparation, including social consultations and determination of the environmental impact level. The companies of the Budimex Group, acting as the general contractor, have no direct impact on these issues, except for the situation where, being a designer under a given contract, they participate in preparation of the investment from the environmental and social point of view. The key to success is careful organisation of construction sites and their facilities, and in particular the routing of technological routes in such a way as to be as little onerous as possible for road users and local residents.
Construction sites, warehouses, depots and transport bases are preferably located on developed and transformed land. As far as possible, the construction site is organised at a safe distance from residential areas. During project implementation, materials and raw materials are primarily transported using already existing road lanes. Tree trunks and roots are properly protected against mechanical damage from heavy equipment, animal and plant habitats are cordoned off and water bodies are protected against potential pollution with chemicals.
After completion of the works, the surroundings shall be restored to a state as close as possible to that prior to construction. Trees that had to be removed are replaced by new ones and the topsoil that had to be removed is reused.
It is also common practice to move plants from construction sites to new sites with the same or similar habitat and soil conditions (so-called metaplantation).
Due to the potential impact of construction works on habitat destruction or animal disturbance in 2021, there was a need to relocate plants and animals. All related activities took place on the basis of obtained conditions included in derogation decisions issued by Regional Directors of Environmental Protection in accordance with the division of competences.
The schedule of construction works is adapted to the natural cycle, which means, for example, stopping works during the migration period of forest animals, amphibians, fish or the breeding period of birds.
Environmental improvements most often refer to the routing of roads in the vicinity of houses and animal crossings in accordance with their migration routes, the maintenance of protective zones (ecotones) in forests. Drainage systems are also created to protect nature. Another measure is erecting transparent noise barriers.
All works are carried out in accordance with the applicable legal requirements, including those relating to areas included in the Nature 2000 network. There is also a nature check of the area of impact and the habitats in the area, and a wildlife observation upon completion of the project. In accordance with the applicable regulations, prior to the commencement of an investment with a potentially significant impact on the natural environment, an environmental impact report is drawn up. The work on this document involves experts from various fields, including ornithologists, herpetologists, botanists, etc., participate in the preparation of this document. The report identifies potential risks and makes recommendations on mitigating the effects of the investment.
In 2021 during the performance of contracts Budimex SA carried out activities in accordance with the provisions of the decision on environmental conditions and building permits. As a result of the decision on environmental conditions, a number of protected areas and sites were determined on the construction sites and within 500m distance.
Specialists support all pro-environmental activities conducted by the Group, continuously monitoring the implementation of investments, issuing conclusions, recommendations and recommendations. The majority of construction sites are subject to environmental supervision in accordance with environmental decisions and agreements with the entity commissioning the investment. Additionally, it is sometimes carried out at the request of the contract management or preventively, even when not required by law. Thus, the Budimex Group applies the precautionary principle.
For employees and subcontractors, taking care of the environment is facilitated by signs placed on construction sites, informing about places for storing construction waste, washing pumps after concreting, areas requiring special care due to the presence of protected species or tree protection zones. The presence of relevant signs is verified during Site Assessment System audits.
One of the rules in force at construction sites operated by the Budimex Group is to have the so-called environmental first aid kit, i.e. a kit for quick reduction and neutralisation of leakages of substances hazardous to the environment, such as oils, petroleum derivatives.
They are located in marked areas and information about their location is made widely available to employees. In line with the precautionary principle, all potential contaminants are treated as environmental hazards until their nature and source are identified. Another requirement is to manage, record and collect the waste generated.
Significant events between the end of the balance sheet period and the report publication date
On the 4th of January 2022, a contract was signed between three bidding companies and the Border Guard for the construction of a 186 km dam on the Polish-Belarusian border. Budimex SA is responsible for the construction of a 100 km section of the dam.
On 25 January 2022, the Border Guard handed over the construction site for the dam to the contractors.
Budimex SA is the contractor for the dam in the Białowieża Forest section. The construction site includes a 2 km area of strict nature reserve, the remaining areas covered by the construction site are Nature 2000 protected areas and areas of other classification. The project assumptions foresee a construction period of six months. The construction takes place under the terms of the Law of 29 October 2021 on the construction of the state border security. By virtue of Art.6 of the mentioned Act, separate provisions do not apply to the investment, including construction law, water law, environmental law and the provisions on providing access to information on the environment, the geodesic and cartographic law, the law on spatial planning and development, the law on the protection of agricultural and forest land and the environment, the law on railway transport, the law on special principles of preparing and implementing investments in the field of public roads, in particular the following is not required:
- building permission or notification,
- a decision on the location of a public purpose investment project,
- drawing up the construction project,
- obtaining other decisions, permits, opinions and agreements or making notifications.
As a result, the mode of consultations and actions for the preservation of biodiversity, which is applied in the case of investments carried out on principles not regulated by the above-described law, was not applied in the implementation of the described investment.
On the 26th of January 2022, representatives of the Budimex Group held consultations with local governments. The meetings were attended by representatives of the army, heads of 5 communes located on the investment route, forest inspectorates and the Mayor of the Hajnów district.
On the 14th of February 2022, the General Director of Environmental Protection expressed the opinion that the rapid construction of a permanent dam will be much more beneficial for nature than the existence of a temporary dam and the presence of a large number of people on the border.
On 15 February 2022, the County Roads Authority in Hajnówka signed an agreement with Budimex SA concerning the repair of damage to county roads that may be devastated during construction.
The Budimex Group identifies significant impact that dam construction may have on biodiversity.