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Residents in Vassilikos area plan to protest energy hub

The Vassilikos energy hub under construction

By Angelos Anastasiou

Residents of the villages surrounding the Vassilikos area in Limassol have announced a demonstration for Sunday, March 16 at Mari village, in protest over government plans to develop the area into a giant energy complex, according to a statement by the Kalavassos Environment and Health Protection Group.

On Thursday, in an assembly of residents held at the Kalavassos community council premises, the community set out its positions in the context of the public consultations relating to the government’s Master Plan for the development of the Vassilikos area.

“The community is concerned about the health and safety of residents in light of the concentration of heavy and pollutant-emitting industry in the area and the fact that the Master Plan proposes that all energy-related industries (power plants, LPG gas, LNG natural gas, strategic oil reserves and oil-storage tank farms) are grouped there. We demand that the industrial area hosts only petroleum-based industries,” the statement reads.

The community cites the fact that the Master Plan does not justify the rationale for the concentration of energy industries in the area as the reason for its opposition to the construction of any facilities relating to natural gas, liquid gas, ammonia, urea and methanol, as this would “concentrate all of Cyprus’s energy production and very dangerous industries in a small area, resulting in increased risk of accidents that could cripple the country.”

“The Master Plan fails to address environmental and quality-of-life issues. We will accept no further deterioration of either, and suggest that an alternative is found by considering other areas to host liquid gas and natural gas processing facilities,” the group’s statement argues.

“We demand a strategic study that is not confined to the area designated by the Master Plan, but expands to a ten-kilometre radius, which the Kalavassos community has been requesting since 2009.”

The Kalavassos community council position was unanimously adopted by the 150 attendees, who also discussed measures that could be taken to further the residents’ positions.

“Sunday’s demonstration is a start,” the statement concludes.

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