Local NGO BirdLife Cyprus in an open letter to environment department director, Costas Hadjipanayiotou, said there was a need to urgently issue a negative assessment report on the latest proposed plans for the Akamas peninsula.

Reminding Hadjipanayiotou that in October 2021, he had acknowledged the negative impact of the proposed plan and requested the abolition, change and/or modification of its provisions, BirdLife said that although revised, the plan had not been substantially modified.

Saying that as several of the director’s proposed items had not been adopted by the town planning council during the review, the NGO held the view that the initial assessment–that is that the proposed development will have negative consequences on the region–cannot be amended.

Other assessments, the NGO states, support of this view, namely, a letter of the game and fauna service backed by detailed data and maps, with which BirdLife agrees.

“We consider it unthinkable to issue a positive assessment for the Akamas local plan in its current form” the letter says.

“Your department is responsible for the implementation of the [EU] Habitats directive, the protection and conservation of biodiversity in Cyprus based on scientific criteria, and this should be a priority for the future of Akamas.”

The NGO added that counter proposals had been sent for measures and policies which would truly help all Akamas landowners who might be deprived of development rights while ensuring the protection of the environment through proper implementation of European instructions.

“Unfortunately, as far as we know, none of these proposals have been adopted by the ministry of interior and the urban planning council” the letter said.

Hadjipanayiotou had earlier stated that asset owners in the area have their own opinions which are entirely understandable and must be respected, but that regrettably there will be individuals who feel that they are treated unfairly.

“They may have land for which there are different building permits in comparison to other parts of Cyprus,” he said, and that the final points on compensation are still under consideration.

“We will take as long as is necessary to have an informed and researched report,” Hadjipanayiotou said. “If the Akamas issue wasn’t so difficult then it wouldn’t have been under discussion for 38 years.”