The finalised version of the Akamas local development plan will be presented before the end of the current government’s term, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis and Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Wednesday.
Speaking after the cabinet meeting, the ministers said that the announcement will come after one of its the next sessions.
“The council of ministers concluded today that it is imperative for the local development plan to be announced before the end of the current government’s term,” Nouris said, adding that a number of issues needing further clarification were identified, which Kadis and himself were authorised to discuss amongst themselves.
“Above all, the cabinet discussed the issue of compensatory benefits for those whose properties may be negatively affected by the implementation of the plan,” he said.
The interior minister explained that the reason for this is that the cabinet and the president wish to avoid any legal issues that could arise if the plan is announced before the compensatory measures.
“It will still take some time to study and clarify these issues before reaching our final decision,” he added.
For his part, Kadis said that the cabinet had an exhaustive discussion covering all aspects of the local development plan and the different approaches from state agencies.
“Along with the announcement of the finalised local plan, a framework will be announced with guidelines for the provision of compensatory measures where it is deemed appropriate,” he said.
Asked whether the two ministers would need to discuss ways to bridge a gap between their differing positions, the agriculture minister said that “There may be different points of view on some issues, but there are no conflicts as was implied in the past,” saying there is good cooperation between him and Nouris, and their ministries.
“In the context of this cooperation we will look at regulations in the local development plan which are in harmony with the decisions and with the opinion of the environment department, and we will also look at the issue of compensatory measures. We will move in these two directions,” he said.
Kadis reminded that any arrangements made should be in line with the binding conditions set by the Environmental Authority and be compatible with the European acquis.
“We are obliged to act within the framework imposed by both European and national legislation; I think this has become clear,” he said.
“We should not leave these issues for the next government,” he said.
After working hard for the past five years, he said “We have reached a critical stage, and we believe that this issue, which has occupied society and particularly the local community of Akamas must be resolved, along with the delays that have persisted for over 35 years.”
Asked if there will be any changes regarding the developments provided for in the plan, Kadis said that there will be adjustments.
Nouris, however, remarked that there are indeed differing approaches between the planning committee and the environmental authority, and that efforts will be made to resolve issues.
On the issue of compensation, he said that “where it is allowed, and within the framework of the binding environmental ruling, efforts will be made to exhaust some discretionary powers with minor or major adjustments that can be made”.
He added that some of these issues have been recognised by Kadis.
“Therefore, within this margin, we will do everything we can to finally reach what we think is the best solution,” he said.