THE Paphos Green Party said they had received numerous complaints from the community of Lemba village in Paphos, and its community leader that despite pleas, protected trees were being felled and removed.
Andreas Evlavis, the district secretary of the Paphos Green Party said that dozens of protected trees, including carob trees which were hundreds of years old, have been removed by developers from a plot of land.
He said that despite pleas by the local community leader to the planning department, permission was granted to a developer to remove the ancient trees.
The village, which is one of the most ancient in Cyprus, is fertile and home to some of the islands oldest trees.
“The mukhtar had requested that the planning department keep this area as a green area, it had some very old trees, which are hundreds of years old and protected. But they refused his request, designating an inaccessible area with no view and not much greenery instead,” said Evlavis”
The Green Party district secretary said that the area cleared is large, around 18 plots. It has views to the sea and is in front of the elementary school of Lemba, which means it was also beneficial for the students to enjoy the greenery. He said that before such permissions are given, it should be mandatory that representatives from both the planning and forestry departments should visit sites before coming to any decision.
“It is a really beautiful place in Lemba and the views are amazing,” he said.
Evlavis said that once the community leader realised that the area was being cleared last weekend, he contacted the party whose members immediately visited the site.
“The trees had been taken away we believe, but some signs, such as cut branches, remained. The mukhtar was very upset.”
Evlavis said that it was time authorities stopped ‘coming down on the side of the developer’ and instead learnt to be more sensitive to nature and trees which are hundreds of years old.
“It shouldn’t be so easy to give permission. They (the authorities) should also consider what is best for the community and the environment.”
He said that, for the party, it was very important that the forestry department and the planning department better co-operate and show more sensitivity and thought into giving permission.
“They should be pushing developers to do what is best for nature, it’s their responsibility,” he said.
Only one lone tree remains, he said, questioning if that too will be removed in the coming days.
Evlavis noted that great swathes of greenery across the island are fast disappearing, swallowed up by buildings and concrete.
“All of the green is disappearing, if we continue at this rate, soon enough there will be hardly any left.”