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Environment minister defends biodiversity bill

Δημοσίευση 20 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 12:45 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Environment minister defends biodiversity bill
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Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Wednesday stressed that the key change made by her draft bill on biodiversity and construction within areas that are part of the Natura network was actually to abolish powers to divide land segments and legislate for "exceptions" to building restrictions.

Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili on Wednesday stressed that the key change made by her draft bill on biodiversity and construction within areas that are part of the Natura network was actually to abolish powers to divide land segments and legislate for "exceptions" to building restrictions.

"The boldness in the specific clause for building outside the town plan in Natura areas is in abolishing segmentation and exceptions, not in 4,000 or 10,000 square metres," she said in statements to the radio station Flash.

The draft bill has come under fire from even ruling PASOK MPs, who strenuously object to measures that would forbid construction on parcels of land smaller than a hectare, instead of the previous rules allowing building on plots up to 4,000 square metres.

Speaking on the radio, the minister noted that powers to carve up land or pass amendments exempting areas from building code rules had always served to allow suspect transactions between politicians and voters.

Following opposition from within PASOK, Birbili has tabled a compromise proposal that will allow owners to build on pieces of land up to 4,000 square metres provided that they were owners before the bill becomes law. Once the land is sold, however, the new owners will need at least 10,000 square metres in order to build.

Replying to criticism that the measure would not encourage growth, Birbili stressed that the economic crisis "cannot serve as an excuse for immobility or preserving things that are considered badly done."

"If there is something that we must learn from the difficult situation our country is going through, this is that we need to change our way of thinking. In terms of the environment this means that we must open issues that we had not touched in all the previous years," she stressed.

According to estimates, the new measures will affect large areas of Greece given that the 422 designated Natura areas in the country cover an estimated 25 percent of its expanse.