Cyprus Mail

Kotsiatis and Vati landfills get two-year reprieve

The Kotsiatis landfill

By Peter Stevenson

THE EUROPEAN Commission has given Cyprus a two-year deadline to shut down the landfills in Kotsiatis and Vati. The European Court of Justice had censured Cyprus in July for not closing down the two uncontrolled landfills or rendering them compliant with EU requirements on waste.

“We haven’t been fined yet and the landfills should have been shut down in 2009, but the Commission is waiting to see what actions we will take to decide whether to take any action at all,” said Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis.

The minister said that Cyprus had agreed to operate two new landfills, one in the Nicosia district and one in the Limassol district, so that the Kotsiatis and Vati landfills could be shut down by the end of 2015.

“It was decided that a waste disposal unit will be built at the site the new landfill in Limassol district hopefully by 2014,” he said.

All that remains, Kouyialis added, was for a tender to be issued so offers could be submitted to construct the waste disposal unit.

In its ruling in July, the ECJ had said that the violation should be assessed based on the situation of the member state on the expiry of the deadline given by the reasoned opinion. “The court does not take into consideration any changes made in the future and deems that the violation still exists,” it said.

“Furthermore, due to the fact that Cyprus is an island, it has no alternative but to deal with waste domestically, and thus the closing of the two uncontrolled landfills of waste is linked to the creation of new waste management units, which are not expected to be completed before the end of 2015,” it added.

It also said that member states were not allowed to cite internal situations or practices to justify failure to fulfil obligations and deadlines set out by a directive.

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