Cat Stream, in San Sa Ho Commune, Sa Pa District, is where some of the cancelled hydroelectric projects had been located

These projects affect protected forests, landscapes and historical monuments, said Le Ngoc Hung, director of the local Department of Industry and Trade.

The province has approved 122 hydroelectric projects, however, after careful consideration, local authorities decided to stop 39 of them, including eight in Sa Pa District, 12 in Bat Xat District, four in Bao Yen District, three in Muong Khuong District, nine in Van Ban District and three in Bac Ha District.

The cancelled project with largest capacity is Nam Chac 1, in Bat Xat District with 6.6MW and the one with the smallest capacity is Nam Kha in Bac Ha District with 0.63MW.

Small-scale hydroelectric plants have destroyed thousands of hectares of forest in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam, said Vu Huy Hoang, minister of Industry and Trade. Hoang cited scientists' estimates that at least 1,000-2,000 hectare of upper forests must be cleared to have 1,000 ha of land for building such a plant.

Tuoi Tre - April 19, 2011