The Nicosia district court on Thursday rejected a state request to shut down two asphalt plants in Yeri and Dhali, pending their relocation elsewhere after complaints their emissions were affecting residents’ health.

The attorney-general’s office said the interim decisions will be appealed.

“After studying the court decisions, deputy attorney-general Savvas Angelides decided that an appeal will be filed,” a brief written statement said.

The government has already decided to relocate the two plants, but it is having problems in finding suitable locations after reactions from residents living near likely new locations.

Dhali residents have staged many protests in recent years, complaining of breathing problems caused by the emissions.

Residents said the problem was exacerbated during the recent lockdown when people were more exposed to emissions at home for longer periods.

In June last year, Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides said in a report that 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 operating licence.