Meeting of environmental NGOs with the Greek Minister of Environment and Energy

The Green Tank participated in the meeting of environmental NGOs with the Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, Kostas Skrekas, and the General Secretary of Natural Environment and Water, Petros Varelidis, in the context of the public consultation on the draft bill “Provisions for the simplification of environmental licensing, environmental inspections and environmental protection, urgent provisions on forestry, spatial planning and urban planning, establishment of a framework for the development of Offshore Wind Farms, addressing the energy crisis and issues of circular economy”.

As the submission of the draft bill to the Parliament is underway, Ioli Christopoulou presented the key recommendations of The Green Tank, placing particular emphasis on need of a complete revision of the proposed framework for design of protected areas and particularly the selection permitted uses in each protection zone. She explained that the draft bill instead of resolving problems that have been identified during the process to officially designate national protected areas, it creates new distortion by adding new uses in each protection zone, most of which are incompatible with the notion of protected areas. During the discussion she presented also recommendations constituting minimum necessary revisions to the draft bill, such as:

  • linear transport infrastructure and, more generally, technical installations and infrastructure must not be permitted in the absolute protection zones,
  • tourist facilities, electricity, fossil gas and renewable energy infrastructures must not be permitted in nature protection and absolute protection zones,
  • hydrocarbon exploration must not be permitted in any protection zone.

In addition, she pointed out the need to correct the proposed changes contained in the draft bill regarding wildlife reserves and particularly the need to reinstate the horizontal ban on hunting and fishing in these areas, given that the central objective of this category of protected areas is to function as wildlife reproduction habitats.

The Green Tank’s comments included also recommendations on the framework for the development of offshore wind farms, and the provisions to address the energy crisis, noting in particular the need to revise the provision on the financing of fossil gas infrastructure through the country’s Public Investment Program.

The conference was held on July 20, 2022. The comments submitted by Green Tank as part of the public consultation, which was completed on July 18, 2022, are available here (in Greek).