The Ministry of Environment has identified 30 protected territory, national land and forest construction violations in Pavilniai and Verkiai regional parks, which belong to Vilnius City Municipality.

According to Minister of Environment Kęstutis Trečiokas, the individuals responsible for the violations were ordered to remove them, and should they fail to do so, the public interest will be defended in the courts.

Various violations were observed. The most common ones included buildings that occupied areas several times larger than they were supposed to, damaged natural areas, and occupied national lands or forests.

For example, the owners of the luxurious Gulbinai block fenced off almost a hectare of national forest next to the 14ha territory they had rented, despite the fact that this territory must be accessible to everyone and that it is forbidden to build residential homes in that territory.

The Vilnius municipality's parks take up almost 5,000ha of land, but their protective regulations, which all Lithuanian parks have, have not been confirmed yet. They are currently regulated by Vilnius' general regulations, which has left loopholes to abuse.

“We will ask the government's representative in the Vilnius region to evaluate the actions of the officers and the council's decisions, perhaps reviewing the General plan as well,” said Trečiokas.

Trečiokas said that two illegal structures were also found in the park – a gazebo and a sauna – that will have to be demolished. Violators will be ordered to remove the violating structures and will be taken to court if they do not.

Vilnius' senior architect Mindaugas Pakalnis said that the construction permits for the park were given out in violation of the law. It is not yet clear how many such permits could have been issued, since some of them may be related to the interpretation of different laws.

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