The Cyprus environmental movement said on Wednesday residents of the Mitsero area have been “vindicated” after plans to erect an asphalt production plant in the region were cancelled in court.
They said they “accepted with satisfaction the court’s decision to cancel the urban planning permit for an asphalt permit in Mitsero”.
“The fight put up by residents and community authorities in the area which would have been affected by such a move and the environmental organisations which mobilised and supported residents’ just demands has been vindicated,” they said.
“The tactics of the previous government, which put [financial] interests above the health and wellbeing of the population and the protection of the environment, have failed.”
They called on the government to move faster to design and implement urban plans for polluting industries, taking into account the consequences of extreme weather caused by climate change.
“The health and quality of life of people and consequently the protection of the environment must be the primary concern of every government. We will continue to insist on this.”
Meanwhile, Akel praised the impacted communities’ “organisation, unity, and perseverance”.
“The manipulations and incompetence of the Nicos Anastasiades Disy government have played a very negative role throughout the course of the issue up to now.”
The party said that from the very start it had stood by the side of residents, supporting their fight to prevent the installation of the asphalt plant.
“The right to a clean environment and the protection of public health is a fundamental human right and we will defend it for everyone,” they said.
The decision to cancel the planning permission of the asphalt plant was made in the administrative court on Tuesday.
Planning permission had been appealed by the communities of Mitsero, Agropikia, Ayios Ioannis, Arediou, Menikou, Malountas and Orountas.
They claimed that the permission had violated the legal stipulation that any such construction cannot be given the green light by government without permission being obtained from local authorities.
The law says that the urban planning department must consult the director of the environment service as well as the relevant local authority and any neighbouring local authority.
In the case of the asphalt plant, local authorities were not consulted before permission was given.
The court’s decision said the law “recognises [local communities’] right to participate in the decision-making process regarding the location of such a project, and had not only the right to be informed, but also to participate under the provisions of the relevant laws.”
Work on the asphalt plant had been halted since August, when the administrative court initially issued an injunction on any work in light of the ongoing dispute.
On that occasion, the court had confirmed “the likelihood of irreparable harm to [local residents] due to the planned relocation of the plant, which could affect their quality of life and level of health.”