Outcry over bill allowing unlimited construction on Greek coastline
Athens: Environmental organisations, social media activists, as well as political parties and several public figures have denounced a proposed law that would end free public access to the Greek coastline, remove deterrent provisions to construction, provide an amnesty to those who have built illegally on it and have adverse environmental consequences of a permanent and severe nature.
Proposed by the Minister of Finance Yannis Stournaras as a means to “release the potential for economic development that the coastal areas offer”, the bill, if enacted, will dismantle the existing legal regime that has (a) helped Greece keep largely free of concrete high-rises that blight coastal regions of other countries and (b) allowed the public’s free access to all coastal areas.
The bill has raised public attention and strong criticism as it:
- Grants to developers the right to appropriate, build on and even modify the coastline altering a landscape that has remained unchanged for centuries,
- Restricts the public’s longstanding right of free access to the coastline,
- Grants an amnesty to existing structures built in breach of existing legislation,
- Permits seasonal beach establishments (e.g. beach bars, umbrellas and summer beds) to occupy the entire length of beaches,
- Is expected to have a permanent, material and adverse impact on the environment including on the coastal and marine ecosystems.
Driven to significant extent by social media activity, public consultation on the bill, which only opened on April 17 2014 and was originally set to close on 2 May 2014 has now been extended to 13 May 2014, with the Ministry of Finance conceding that “citizens’ participation and contribution to the consultation process has raised issues that must be further examined”.
For more information contact the citizens’ initiative ‘Save The Greek Seashore’ at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by Lizzie Calligas
Available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported CC BY-NC 3.0