BirdLife Cyprus on Friday rallied against requests for a new quarry zone in Androlikou as part of the Akamas local development plan.
In a statement, the environmental NGO said that the opinion of the Environmental Authority, that at this stage no new quarry zone can be authorised in the area, is legally binding and cannot be overturned.
“This was also confirmed by Agriculture Minister Mr Costas Kadis,” it said.
The statement explained that the Androlikou gorges are a unique and environmentally sensitive area, “home to the largest and healthiest colony of Nightingales Rosettus aegyptiacus, as well as many other wildlife species, such as the Zanos Falco peregrinus”.
It has been estimated that any expansion of quarrying activity will have negative and irreversible consequences for the species that warrant the protection of the area, it explained.
BirdLife argued that as the existing quarry zone appears to have reserves for the next four years, this gives enough time to carry our additional studies to find alternative solutions to cover the needs of projects carried out in the Paphos district which have received environmental approval.
These could include creating a quarry zone in a less sensitive area, transferring material from other areas, and the use of alternative construction materials.
The NGO clarified that the code of conduct for the extraction sector and the protection of species signed between BirdLife Europe, the Pan-European Association of Quarries and other partners clearly assumes full respect for the Habitats and Birds Directives, meaning restrictions concerning Natura 2000 areas.
“Finding the right and sustainable solution takes time and requires a global and strategic approach, with respect for nature and the relevant European legislation,” the statement concluded.