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Cyprus

Audit office issues damning report on PV park in Larnaca

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The state failed to apply the principles of transparency and equal treatment in leasing state land for the installation of photovoltaics in the district of Larnaca, the audit service said on Friday.

The damning report concerns a land area of 670,000 square metres between the villages of Troulli, Avdelero, and Kelia, which was used to install photovoltaics with an output of 45.2MW.

The main findings of the audit were the failure by the cabinet to apply the principles of transparency and equal treatment.

The report said if the cabinet thought that the land in question could or should be leased to a private company for the creation of PV parks, it ought to have invited tenders publicly and not grant it to the first entrepreneur who requested it.

According to the report, the company’s application was submitted before the decision was taken by the cabinet to grant the land in question.

Consequently, at the time of submitting the applications, the company had no rights over the land it planned to build its project on.

The cabinet had also failed to adequately justify its decision to lease the land for which the agriculture ministry and the town planning department had suggested should be set aside for farming purposes.

Five of the 11 proposed PV parks skirt a special protection zone included in the European Natura 2000 network and six were at a distance of between 300 and 1,600 metres.

The EU has sent a warning letter to Cyprus over the decision, which ignored the cumulative effects of the project.

Also, the local councils of the affected area though opposing the project initially, later changed their mind and voted in favour.

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