Cyprus Mail

Mistakes identified in Akamas, Greens call for accountability

large water pipes, widened roads and construction rubble in an 'ecologically sensitive area'
Large water pipes, widened roads and construction rubble in an 'ecologically sensitive area'

Roadworks in Akamas will have to be corrected in part, the Green Party said on Friday, following a visit by foreign experts to the site after being invited by the agriculture ministry to examine the damage done.

The party said that following the visit, it was determined that corrective measure will need to be taken to fix the damage work on the road network has caused.

According to the party, the fact that the binding conditions of the Special Ecological Assessment seem to have been violated seems to have been forgotten.

“We demand accountability for the disaster. No expert conclusion can erase the illegality,” the party said.

“We demand that decisions be taken to change the use of roads so that the visitation to Akamas is based on the use of ecological public vehicles (Shuttle buses),” the party added calling for the Akamas to remain a strictly protected area.

“Visitors should be concentrated in the communities and not crowd by the thousands on the beaches of Lara [area],” it said.

The Greens said they would discuss the above proposals with President Nikos Christodoulides at a meeting next Thursday, “in the hope that he will decide to disengage from the previous government’s misguided decisions on Akamas”.

At the start of December, environmental organisations sought to hold authorities, including the agriculture and environment minister, to strict account over the Akamas roadworks and demanded a substantive response.

Speaking on CyBC, Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos assured that enquiries would continue beyond the administrative investigation just concluded, and that blame would be assigned, but stopped short of announcing the need for a criminal investigation.

“The administrative investigation showed that the environmentalists’ assertions were just,” the minister said.

However, the investigation had set out to answer two questions. The first is whether the special environmental assessment (SEA) on the Akamas road works was handed over to the project surveyors to be included in the final construction plans – which was done “according to their understanding”, Xenophontos said.

The second was whether these were officially presented before the ad hoc environmental advisory committee, which was not properly done, the minister admitted.

He added that further investigation is needed into the actions of the forestry department, for signing off on the final plans, and the environment department on whether it was remiss in explaining the plans to the ad hoc committee members.

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