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Eco NGOs blast proposed shooting range near Kouris

Πανοραμική Όψη Αυθαίρετων Επεμβάσεων Παράνομων Κατασκευών

A network of environmental organisations on Friday voiced opposition to the construction of a shooting range near the island’s largest reservoir, Kouris, saying it will pollute the area’s environment, landscape and water resources.

In a written statement, the Cyprus federation of environmental and ecological organisations urged the rejection of the application to build and operate a shooting range in the community of Alassa, Limassol.

“The proposed development will adversely affect the environment and the landscape, water resources (surface and groundwater), as well as the soil and subsoil of the area, causing pollution,” the announcement said.

Work had already started in the area “without the required permits under current legislation” which was later ordered to be suspended, pending the assessment of the construction application, the federation said.

According to the federation, a significant part of the area has been levelled, resulting in the alteration of the landscape, as well as the loss of vegetation on the northwestern side of Kouris dam.

As a result of the earthworks, wide terraces have been created in the eastern part of the site, which is located on a steep slope that ends at the Kryos river and the dam.

Moreover, a concrete base and metal beams have been installed for the construction of a building.

A comprehensive environmental impact assessment study was requested by the environment department which means no further work should be done on the site until its examination.

 The statement demanded the restoration of the landscape after the illegal construction for the “protection of the largest source of drinking water in Cyprus”.

The federation said construction and operation of a shooting range in the specific area is not allowed, outlining the negative impact on the wildlife and nature of the protected area near the reservoir.

The proposed shooting range falls within protected landscape of Kouris water dam and within the close protection zone of the water reservoir.

The federation said the eastern end of the plot is about “45 metres from the highest level of the Kouris water reservoir.”

Kouris supplies about 70 per cent of the island’s population with drinking water, hence the proposed project “is expected to cause significant problems regarding the water supply capacity of Cyprus, which has been plagued by water shortages over time,” said the federation.

Πολεοδομικές Ζώνες Άλασσας Φύλλο Σχέδιο 53 13

Citing the protection and water management law, the federation said the disposal of pollutants, such as lead and lead pellet cartridges, which may contaminate water or soil or subsoil are included in the activities that must not be carried out near a drinking water dam area.

Other forbidden activities include the removal of materials from the ground and subsoil that could create cavities which may significantly increase the risk of contamination of the dam drinking water, including levelling and clearing, as well as excavations and earthworks.

Apart from dam pollution, the proposed shooting range is “on agricultural land of high natural value” with several hardwood trees such as carob trees.

It also includes and is close to the protected areas of the Natura 2000 network of the Limnatis valley, and within the designated passage of migratory wild birds.

“The site of the proposed shooting range is a habitat for endemic bird species, as well as an area for feeding and perching of predatory species of wild birds, which nest permanently in the Limnatis valley,” the announcement explained.

The federation of environmental and ecological organisations was founded in 1988 and is a network of 19 non-governmental organisations, active in the fields of environment and culture.

 

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