Two asphalt production plants from the areas of Geri and Tseri, which have affected surrounding communities and municipalities are to be moved, it was decided on Wednesday.
According to a written statement from Government Spokesman Kyriakos Kousios, the issue of the operation of asphalt plants in the areas of Geri and Tseri, which affect the surrounding communities and municipalities, including the municipality of Dhali and Pera Chorio Nisou was discussed at a meeting at attended by Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris and Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis.
The two plants are to be relocated to areas agreed between the parties involved.
No specific locations were mentioned but a few areas were being considered.
There have been numerous protests by residents of the affected areas in recent years.
Residents said the problem was exacerbated during the recent lockdown when people were more exposed to emissions at home for longer periods.
In early June, Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides in a report about the plants, said human rights had trumped business rights when it came to the continued operation of the two plants. She also slammed local authorities for not taking any action, especially as one of the two plants did not have the proper operational licence, yet nothing was been done to correct the problem.
Kadis, in statements after Wednesday’s meeting at the palace said intensive efforts had been made in recent months to have the two plants moved. “With the help of the president in today’s meeting with the owners of the factories, it was decided to start the process of moving them, with the involvement of all relevant services,” the minister said.
He said the process would begin right away and be completed within six to eight months, adding that alternative areas had been suggested based on legislation.
The issue of relocation compensation would be assessed by independent experts, Kadis added.
“Thus, we consider that an issue is ending which was a bothering many of our fellow citizens and creating problems for a significant part of the population of several communities in Dhali and the surrounding area,” he said.
Kadis said until the move was finalised, measures would be taken to reduce the nuisance caused by the continued operation of the plants until they were relocated.
“It is a process in which many services are involved and which cannot be completed in one day. We are determined, with instructions from the president himself, to coordinate all the services involved so that the process is completed as soon as possible,” the minister said. “There are specific procedures that must be followed, including the elaboration of the environmental impact studies for the installation of the units in the new areas to make sure that they will operate in complete safety. I consider it particularly important that the decision was made, a timetable was set and we are moving towards a solution to this problem.”