The conservative government and the opposition clashed in Parliament yesterday, Tuesday 05/5, over a contentious bill introduced by the Environment Ministry that seeks to modernize the country’s environmental legislation.
The government has said that the bill, which went under public consultation for 13 days, is designed to solve chronic environmental law problems by simplifying licensing procedures and ending years of inconvenience for Greek citizens. It foresees changes to regulations regarding land uses, environmental licensing and the management of protected areas.
However, it is not just the the opposition parties that are clashing with our Government in regards to this bill. Environmental orgainsation are saying that the bill will be catastrophic for our environment. Especially for our Island, Zakynthos.
One organisation that is here in Zakynthos, NATURA DI ZANTE , along with an extensive list of other organisations are trying to get environmental awareness issues heard. They feel that “the people” should have their say. Unfortunately, for this legistation, they claim that there was not enough time for the people to have their say, due to the coronavirus pandemic having tough measures on allowing peole to come together.
How exactly does this new legislation affect our environment?
Nature di Zante explains and if you would like to help in the fight of getting it withdrawn then Zakynthos Informer has provided a link at the bottom of our page for you to click on.
IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF THE ANTI-ENVIRONMENTAL BILL TITLED “MODERNISATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION”
The bill, titled “Modernising Environmental Legislation”, which the Greek government is feverishly preparing to bring to a vote in a practically closed parliament due to quarantine, should not be allowed to pass, because:
- It essentially eliminates the protection of Natura 2000 sites and even promotes mining and hydrocarbon mining in nature conservation areas
- It abolishes the autonomy of the Protected Areas Management Bodies (PAMB)
- It allows for the destruction of the environment in the name of investment projects at will, by consigning control of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) to private entities and by imposing tight deadlines for the required opinions/recommendations of the relevant public service departments
- It promotes the reckless expansion of industrial Renewable Energy Sources (RES), especially wind, which have already caused environmental degradation and a financial burden on consumers to ensure excessive profits for investors
- It legalises illegal construction in forestlands and in some cases, within wetlands and streams
- It simplifies solid waste management procedures and does not take measures against the degradation/deterioration of streams from the uncontrolled disposal of urban and industrial waste within them
- It violates Constitutional Provisions, European Directives and International Convention
The current global crisis indicates the immediate need for a change of course in environmental management: We must ensure that the environment is maintained, protected and restored and not allow the goverments to sacrify the environment on the altar of ephemeral economic interests. The multi-bill “Modernisation of Environmental Legislation” is clearly moving in the second direction.
In view of the fact that it is coming to a vote in the midst of an unprecedented situation where as citizens we do not have the right to exercise our basic constitutional/democratic rights, to call for meetings/assemblies, to meet in our collective bodies, to invite rallies, etc. , the whole process of passing a very important bill on all environmental issues can only be classified as undemocratic.
For all the above reasons, we demand the immediate withdrawal of the bill entitled “Modernisation of Environmental Legislation” in its entirety.
FURTHER DETAILS FOR THE BILL:
- It essentially eliminates the protection of Natura 2000 sites and even promotes mining and hydrocarbon mining in nature conservation areas. It introduces land uses that will enable urban sprawl, by creating 4 “scalable” protection zones that allow large investment activities such as mining, tourist and commercial exploitation and unnecessary infrastructure within them.
- It abolishes the autonomy of the Protected Areas Management Bodies (PAMB). The Protected Areas Management Bodies (PAMB), which were independent scientific/environmental bodies, supervised the protected areas and consulted on their management plans as well as any activities within them, are downgraded by this bill. The bill creates room for a stiff management, shrinking their numbers of these bodies, undermining them and increasing the extent of the areas they supervise. Their responsibilities are concentrated in the Ministry of the Environment, thus abolishing their independence and effectiveness.
- It allows for the destruction of the environment in the name of investment projects at will, by consigning control of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) to private entities and by imposing tight deadlines for the required opinions/recommendations of the relevant public service departments. It establishes the institution of the “private evaluator” of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), turning the whole licensing process into an opaque and perforated procedure. It tightens further the deadlines for the required opinions/recommendations of the pertinent public departments, without giving them the necessary tools to compile them, making their role decorative.
- It promotes the reckless expansion of industrial Renewable Energy Sources (RES), especially wind, which have already caused environmental degradation and a financial burden on consumers to ensure excessive profits for investors. The abolition of the permit for the production of electricity from RES and the other “facilities” in favour of RES industries, as well as the land use changes in Natura 2000 sites, create faits accomplis before the revision of the Special Spatial Framework for RES that has been unduly delayed and pre-empt the Special Environmental Studies for protected areas
- It legalises illegal construction in forestlands and in some cases, within wetlands and streams. It restores the legalisation of “residential densities” that have been rejected by The Hellenic Council of State (Symvoulio tis Epikrateias), the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece. Moreover, by maintaining illegal construction and trespassing in the streams it increases the flood risk and makes canalisation “necessary” for water way projects.
- It simplifies solid waste management procedures and does not take measures against the degradation/deterioration of streams from the uncontrolled disposal of urban and industrial waste within them. It does not ensure the avoidance of illegal unloading of waste in streams and other public/private spaces, which in recent years have turned all peri-urban areas into vast landfills. It abolishes the waste transfer permit, replacing it with a simple entry in a registry. It does not take measures for the illegal disposal of waste in streams.
- It violates Constitutional Provisions, European Directives and International Conventions. Indicatively: Article 24 of the Greek Constitution, European Directives on the Protection of Habitats and Species 92/43/EEC, for the protection of wild birds 2009/147/EC, on Waters 2000/60, on the Marine Strategy in the Mediterranean 2008/59, Ramsar International Convention on Wetlands, Barcelona Treaty for the Protection of the Mediterranean.
THE ABOVE RESOLUTION IS SUPPORTED BY:
143 environmental movements and collectives. The resolution is also supported by other 42 collectives. The list is dynamic, so if you wish to add your collective in the list, please declare it to email@example.com
Click on petition below to help.
Main photo:- https://tvxs.gr