HUNDREDS OF businesses may have to close if Cyprus adopts EU legislation on pollution permits without any amendments, it transpired yesterday during an extraordinary meeting of the House Environment Committee.
The parliamentary committee discussed two EU harmonisation bills on the control and prevention of pollution.
Committee chairman Adamos Adamou said, according to the bill, that every business or industry applying for emission permits must first have acquired town planning and building permits, as well as an environmental impact study.
This poses problems for around 500 businesses and industries, which were effectively given exemptions from permit requirements.
The government, with the help of parliament, will have to decide whether they will be given a grace period to comply with the new EU laws or be forced to close down, since the new laws do not allow permit exemptions, Adamou said.
“If we pass the law without legalising those (businesses) already operating, we will have a problem. We are going through an economic crisis. It is not in our interest to close businesses. We have to find a formula allowing businesses to operate, while safeguarding the protection of the environment,” said the AKEL MP.
A committee has been set up comprising of representatives of the Environment Department, Labour Inspection Department, Interior Ministry, Commerce Ministry and Legal Service to find a solution to the potential problem and submit an opinion to parliament.
According to reports, lawmakers are considering giving the businesses exempted from the necessary permits, or do not have all required permits, a five-year transitional period to adjust and harmonise with the new pollution bill’s provisions.