Some environmental organizations, including Greenpeace Russia and WWF Russia, are urging Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to abandon the improvement of the city’s natural areas. According to the plans of the officials, about 28 billion rubles will be spent for the “order” of the city parks. in the next three years. Environmentalists insist that the value of relatively untouched metropolitan forests is far greater than “man-made areas” and that any intervention would lead to their degradation. The mayor’s office in Moscow has not yet responded to the call, but the relevant committee of the Duma of the city of Moscow supports the need for continuous work. And at the Active Citizen portal, a vote is currently underway, in which Muscovites express their position on the planned improvement of the Bitsevsky forest and the Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo park.
The Moscow Society for the Protection of Nature, Greenpeace Russia, the Center for Wildlife Conservation, WWF Russia and the public environmental organization ECA are asking Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to exclude from the city budget a special budget for the city. protected areas and other natural areas in Moscow. This is stated in the letter of the bodies, which they sent to the town hall of the capital. In total, there are 136 protected areas in Moscow. Among them, for example, the Losiny Ostrov National Park, the reserve of the Zelenogradsky complex, the natural and historical parks Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo, Moskvoretsky, Kosinsky, Tsaritsyno and Ostankino.
Moscow’s draft budget for 2022 and the 2023-2024 programming period was approved by the Moscow City Duma at first reading last week. This shows that in three years about 28 billion rubles will be allocated for the improvement of parks and green spaces.
The metropolitan natural areas, which are affected relatively little by the economic impact, are necessary to ensure the environmental safety of the population, the letter states:
“Sustainable development of Moscow is impossible without them, they create a more comfortable microclimate in the city, clean the polluted air of the city, preserve biodiversity, which is recognized as the most important indicator of the state of the environment.”
Any anthropogenic intervention – replacing trees with “park-type green spaces”, placing ornamental lawns instead of meadows in central Russia and building facilities – will weaken the protective properties of natural ecosystems, environmentalists are sure. “The ecological value of urban forests is fundamentally higher than that of man-made areas, in every respect: absorption of greenhouse gases, thermal comfort, regulation of surface runoff”, emphasize the authors of the appeal.
In this regard, environmentalists are advised not to carry out work on the regulation of natural areas until “with the participation of the best experts in nature conservation, the need to improve each specially protected and other natural area and the corresponding plans and programs are scientifically substantiated ». “Do not allow the natural heritage of Moscow to be destroyed by landscaping and preserve the natural nature of the Russian capital for future generations,” they urged the mayor in a letter.
“All the natural areas of Moscow are already used and equipped for the daily recreation of the citizens”, points out the head of the Society for Nature Protection of the city of Moscow, Galina Morozova. “Why are they extra shaped now? “What is planned to be built there is not compatible with nature – this is urbanization, not landscaping.” In her opinion, such projects will reduce the Muscovites’ interest in resting there.
According to Mikhail Kreindlin, Greenpeace’s expert on Russia, the improvement of natural areas in Moscow is currently proceeding in a chaotic manner, while in order to maintain them, it is necessary to conduct scientific research and justify such work.
He also recalled that in 2020 the State Duma canceled the state environmental review for the construction of objects in protected areas of regional importance: “Therefore, there will be no environmental assessments and public hearings.”
Kommersant sent a request to the Moscow government to comment on the appeal, but they could not respond immediately.
It should be noted that in 2020, the city authorities held a competition for a comprehensive analysis of the Bitsevsky forest to develop an idea for the development of these natural areas. Contract for a total amount of 87 million rubles. completed with the “Atlas” design bureau. However, some locals oppose such an improvement. Residents of Konkovo, in particular, collected about 20 thousand signatures in an appeal against the development and possible development of the Bitsevsky forest.
In early November 2021, the Moscow Department of Competition Policy announced a tender with an initial price of 256 million rubles. for “carrying out design and research work to bring the areas in the Chertanovo Yuzhnoye, Yasenevo, Chertanovo Severnoye, Chertanovo Centralny areas of the Moscow city to the regulatory state.” The terms of reference refer to construction works on an area of 112 hectares of the natural and historical park “Bitsevsky Forest” (2.2 thousand hectares in total). The documents show that it is planned to build 13 sports courts, 4 tennis courts, 3 skateparks, three pumping tracks, a climbing wall and a sports complex of 3 thousand square meters on its premises. m. Also, in the territory of the Bitsevsky forest there will be 600 bins and an equal number of benches, 150 kiosks, 300 cages for birds and small animals, 38 km of lighting, rainwater drainage and 344 video surveillance cameras. The residents of the area, having learned about this competition, call on social networks to start collecting signatures against this project.
Now at the Active Citizen portal there is a poll dedicated to improving the Bitsevsky forest. Residents will be asked, in particular, if they support the creation of a “comfortable and accessible recreation environment” in the park. A similar vote is being held on the future of Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo Park. The previous day, Sergei Sobyanin announced that an environmental and educational park would be set up in its northern part. And in the northeastern part, along the Leningrad highway, it is planned to organize a specially paved running track, to create an extreme park, training zones and a “big sports core”.
According to Nadezhda Kosareva, head of the Institute of Urban Economics, urban forests need to be preserved in their original form, but some improvements still need to be made. “For example, toilets, places where you can buy water, equipped paths,” he says. “But, of course, such objects do not need to be cut in the forest, they can only be built on free plots, deserts. ”
The chairman of the Moscow City Duma Committee on Environmental Policy Alexander Solovyov (SR) draws attention to the fact that most of Moscow’s natural areas are divided into zones, for example, recreational and specially protected. “The territories of the latter should remain intact, their borders should not change,” he believes. “si”) it can be done. “It’s normal to equip hiking areas where there are dirt roads.” In addition, according to him, the improvement allows to put in good condition the infrastructure already in the parks, as well as to improve the safety of citizens.