Warsaw, Poland – The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today decided that increased logging in the ancient Białowieża Forest is against EU law. This means that logging operations must stop. This welcome decision comes after international peaceful protests against the Polish Environment Ministry and on-the-ground protection of the Białowieża Forest by environmental organisations and civic society in Poland. 
Katarzyna Jagiełło, a forest campaigner with Greenpeace Poland said:
“Today’s ruling confirms that our determination to protect the Białowieża Forest, Europe’s last ancient lowland natural forest, is not just necessary, but just. It is a good day for the region and the local community, but the struggle to protect this forest doesn’t end here. This unique natural treasure is still not protected properly, with more than two-thirds of the Polish part of the forest administered by the state’s forest holding office — the very office responsible for logging the forest in the first place.
“The only way to secure the protection of this unique and precious ecological legacy is for the new Environment Minister, Henryk Kowalczyk, to declare the Białowieża Forest a national park and end the conflict of interest caused by the the state holding office administering an EU and UNESCO protected area.
“In 2017, following the decision of the former Minister of Environment, Jan Szyszko, the state’s forest holding institution used heavy logging machines to extract almost 200 thousands cubic meters of trees in 19 square kilometers of the Białowieża Forest – the most amount in 30 years. Without strong opposition from environmental organisations and civic society the damage would have been much worse.
“We still need to stand for the Białowieża Forest in Poland and abroad to ensure that Polish and European laws are respected. The Polish state’s holding company still sees a cash-grab instead of a delicate old-growth forest. We’re calling on people everywhere, who love nature, to continue to be vigilant against the destruction of the Białowieża Forest.”
Poland was taken to the ECJ last July over its logging operations in the region. The logging was halted in November, more than three months after the CJEU had ordered the country to cease operations before this final ruling on the case.  Greenpeace activists from Poland and other European countries took part in several blockades of logging operations in the Forest throughout summer and autumn last year.
 Background of the EU Commission ruling here.
 Read about the ECJ ruling here.
Kryzstof Cibor, communications, Greenpeace Poland +48 (737) 49 22 66, [email protected]
Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), [email protected]