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Cyprus

Gunpowder storage a threat to lives says Aradippou municipality

Aradippou municipality

Aradippou said Tuesday it wants some 50 tonnes of gunpowder used for the production of hunting cartridges to be removed from its industrial estate, fearing the consequences of a potential accident.

Mayor Evangelos Evangelides said the municipality had taken the matter up with the labour minister after finding out the unit, located in an enclosed industrial area belonging to Larnaca municipality, stored around 50 tonnes of gunpowder used in shotgun shells.

The area belongs to Larnaca municipality but it is within the boundaries and jurisdiction of Aradippou.

“It constitutes an immediate danger for the health and safety of area residents,” Evangelides said.

The mayor said the threat affected around 1,250 buildings, including commercial, houses, apartment blocks, schools, and nursing homes.

The affected area measures 2,291 donums and it is worth €1bn, the mayor said. The unit’s operation had negative effects on development and reduced property values.

Evangelides said the unit had secured a town planning permit by derogation, through a cabinet decision in 2016 without asking Aradippou.

He said they were surprised to find out that the labour inspection department had been positive as regards the permit. Despite the measures put in place, in line with European legislation, if there was an explosion, many people would lose their lives, the mayor added.

The unit has been in operation in the location for years but in 2016 it received permission to store some 34 tonnes of gunpowder.

“Our information says they are storing more than 50 tonnes,” Evangelides said.

He admitted that the owner was trying to find alternative storage locations, which was a positive sign.

“The factory can continue its operation as long as it moves its warehouse elsewhere.”

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