Cyprus Mail

Greens appeal to European Commission over sea caves

The caves are the birthing spot for mediterranean monk seals

The Green Party on Friday called on the EU to examine whether the government’s decisions surrounding the controversial developments in the sea caves area in Peyia, Paphos were legal.

In a letter submitted to the European Commission’s representation in Cyprus, party leader Giorgos Perdikis said he was reporting the government and called on the EU environment commissioner to examine the case.

“We ask of the EU environment commissioner to examine the government’s decisions on the basis of their legality in relation to the European institutional framework on protecting nature,” the letter said.

Two projects in the area, one skirting the boundaries of the Akamas national park, as well as other Natura sites in Cyprus have been approved and prompted public outcry.

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis has said authorities cannot go back in time and that all they can do is limit the damage.

A number of villas are being constructed by Leptos, and a huge project is planned by Korantina Homes further west, which involves a luxury hotel and some 40 villas.

Kadis said the government will change the legislation to plug gaps in zoning procedures, remove any illegal structures and restore other interventions in the area, as well as securing biodiversity by banning fishing and boat and other sea traffic from approaching the caves.

The sea caves are the birthing spot of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus), which is listed as the most ‘critically endangered’ marine mammal species in the Mediterranean by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Deputy chief of the EU commission’s representation in Cyprus Thea Pieridou said the report would be sent to the relevant department in Brussels.

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