The Green Party slammed the president’s “lofty statements” on national environmental policies on Saturday, saying dozens of large trees were cut the same day in the capital.

Cyprus, instead of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, increases them year after year with incalculable consequences for people’s quality of life, the environment, as well as the economy since the country has to pay hefty fines for polluter rights, the party said.

Following complaints received by residents, representatives of the party visited the construction site for the new motorway in Nicosia where they found several healthy trees such as pines, eucalyptus and olive trees had been cut.

The private crew failed to get a relevant permit from the forestry department, the party said.

“The fact that it is planned as part of the landscaping of the new highway to plant new saplings cannot compensate for the loss of dozens of large trees,” the announcement noted.

This was happening at the same time when President Nikos Christodoulides was publicly declaring that the government is giving “special emphasis on reducing the carbon footprint”. Speaking at the Cyprus Forum, he said “we are implementing an integrated action plan that aims to improve all sustainability indicators on the basis of the 17 sustainable development goals set by the United Nations”.

As a response to those statements, the Green party said it is “truly unacceptable and reprehensible” that the designs for a new four-lane motorway once again failed to take into account the large trees that could most of them, with proper arrangements, be spared.

However, those plans are implemented were prepared 40 years ago when there were neither 17 goals of the UN for sustainable development nor the green agreement of the EU (Fit for 55), the party added.

The announcement added that “one more highway does not solve Nicosia’s traffic problem.”