Controversial chapter on Natura 2000 sites in bill withdrawn

[InTime News]

Greece’s environment ministry on Thursday withdrew a controversial chapter authorizing heavy interventions on protected natural sites from its new omnibus bill.

Submitted for public consultation last week, the bill has sparked a firestorm of reactions from environmental groups and scientific bodies arguing that the opening of roads, the construction of energy transmission networks and Other similar activities pose an immediate threat to sensitive habitats such as protected ones. as part of the Natura 2000 network.

“We have heard the concerns expressed by the opposition and previously by environmental organizations and have withdrawn the chapter for further consultation,” Environment Minister Kostas Skrekas told parliament on Thursday.

“We hope we can have a constructive discussion and cooperation through dialogue,” he said, adding that the bill would be brought back to the House after the summer recess in late August.

Backlash against the bill has only intensified since a massive forest fire broke out in the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park in northeastern Greece on Saturday. , and continues to raze valuable forests and threaten the habitat of several endangered or at-risk bird species.

The bill also paved the way for tourist facilities and facilitated the installation of renewable energy sources (RES) in nature protection areas (the part around the heart of a Natura site) and even l ‘mining. Also, it effectively removed most of the restrictions in the habitat conservation area.