Highways Department told to find a new route to bypass Namnao national park

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has ordered the Highways Department to find an alternative route that will bypass Namnao national park instead of expanding Route 12 from two to four lanes which cuts through the park.

The Highways Department's plan to expand 43-kilometre long Route 12 which cuts through Namnao national park in Petchabun province from two to four lanes was the topical issue among 20 issues being considered by the National Environment Board on Wednesday.

Advisor to the director-general of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation Department, Mr Ath Pattanaviboon, was assigned by his immediate superior to explain to the board the department's objection to the road expansion project, pointing out that the national park is classified as 1A watershed area.

General Prawit who chaired the NEB meeting clarified the board's decision, saying that the Highways Department's road project was not scrapped, but the department was simply told to find an alternative route that should bypass the park in order to save the forest and wild animals living in the park.

The deputy prime minister insisted that the decision was the board's judgement which had nothing to do with environmental groups which have been campaigning against the road expansion project.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)