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Next Previous Illegal Caves Without Consequences HOME • INSIDER • CYPRUS • Illegal Caves Without Consequences
& nbsp & nbspآγγελος Νικολάου & nbsp; & nbsp;
In the wider area of the Sea Caves of the Municipality of Pegeia, an orgasm of development is observed, despite the fact that absolute protection zones have been created in order to prevent uncontrolled use by the people of the coastal area very close to the important breeding and breeding shelters of the Mediterranean seal. These are both legal developments and illegal constructions just 60 meters from the entrance of the breeding cave, as well as arbitrary interventions for opening access to a secluded beach. & Nbsp;
In relation to the legal development that concerns the construction of villas in the location “Petres tou Vathi” in the Municipality of Pegeia, the whole licensing process began about three years ago. Specifically, the District Office of the Department of Urban Planning and Housing of Paphos sent a letter to the Director of the Department of Environment dated. 6/6/2018 for opinions. One month later, on 3/7/2018, the Department of Environment in its response stated that based on the announcement of measures issued by the Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment and Interior, aimed at the comprehensive protection of the Sea Caves, where among other measures it was decided and the elaboration of an Adequate Environmental Impact Assessment Study, will express its views on the application after the completion and the findings of the study.
In addition, the Department of Environment consulted with the following competent public departments for this application: & nbsp;
Geological Survey Department: In a relevant e-mail date. 7/12/2018 states that the northwestern boundary of the plot is adjacent to the coastal front (distance 20 m., Approximately) in which there are no sea caves. The slope is subject to erosion mainly by the effect of rainwater and less by the wave action. Regarding the suitability of the subsoil for foundation, the Department considers the geological conditions in the plot to be favorable. & Nbsp; No Beach Development Zone will be developed or constructed.
Department of Fisheries and Marine Research: With a relevant letter dated 28/11/2018, to the District Office of the Department of Urban Planning and Housing of Paphos states that an Adequate Assessment Study has been prepared for the area of the Sea Caves in Pegeia and which presents the provisions and protection measures that must be taken into account for any licensing and construction projects in the area. Notes that the greatest possible distance between any structures and the areas of the Natura 2000 Network should be maintained and that the provisions based on the Law on Beach Protection should be ensured.
In addition, it is noted that the Department Geological Survey conducted a geological/geotechnical survey between March-April 2018 to assess the rock mass on the coastal slopes of the Sea Caves area. Based on the results of the research, two safety zones were established along the coastline, one for future constructions and one for passing visitors with a width/bandwidth of 50 m and 10 m, respectively. & Nbsp;
It is noted that an environmental study was prepared for the developments in the area of Pegeia Sea Caves with the aim of integrated protection of the area. The study area was part of the Natura 2000 Network areas. An evaluation report was prepared for this study, on 13/3/2019. & Nbsp;
Taking into account all the above, the Department of Environment with a letter dated 2/7/2019 sent its views to the District Officer of the Department of Urban Planning and Housing, for the proposed development, according to which he did not object to the granting of conditional urban planning permit. Conditions are included for various issues such as lighting, landscaping, prohibition of any intervention/construction or renovation work and/or landscaping and/or activity within the protection zone of the beach and the Natura 2000 Network areas, etc. & nbsp;
Rocks were carved to access the beach
Creating access with stairs to a rocky shoreline was found by officials of the Department of Environment. Specifically, in a state forest plot, an intervention was found in the rocky part of the coastline, where part of it has been carved and access has been created with steps to the beach. The intervention is located within the protection zone of the beach and within the areas of the Natura 2000 Network. & nbsp;
A tavern grew in the “Cave of Fokaina”
Illegal construction and operation of a tavern in the location “Spilios tis Fokainas” was found by the competent authorities. On 16/6/2020, the Department of Environment sent a letter to the mayor of Pegeia, as the competent Authority, for the immediate removal of the premises since any further intervention can have negative effects on the area and specifically on the Mediterranean seal. Furthermore, on 4/8/2020, the Department of Environment sent a relevant letter to the provincial official of the Department of Urban Planning and Housing of Paphos to inform the Department of Environment whether the property in question, which was in an advanced stage of implementation/construction, has obtained a planning permit. In addition, it was stressed as in the case that it does not have the relevant permits, take all appropriate actions to terminate the projects and restore the environment. Following the letter of the Department of Environment, the provincial officer of the Department of Urban Planning and Housing of Paphos proceeded with a Enforcement Notice, date. 31/8/2020, to the owners of the plot for immediate termination of any illegal construction activity and removal/demolition of all unlicensed constructions. For the above illegal construction, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment asked for zero tolerance and strict implementation of the legislation with all the foreseen consequences for the offenders. & Nbsp;
Rejection of two applications & nbsp; for new Villas
In a large part of the Sea Caves area, no human activity is allowed except for scientific monitoring and management activities. To this end, in concrete plots that have not been built so far and are located almost above the main breeding habitats of the Mediterranean seal, Monachus monachus, it has been ensured that they will be protected from possible future construction, so as not to affect in any way the statics of caves. In this context, only recently, an inter-ministerial commission rejected two separate requests for the construction of holiday villas in the Sea Caves. These developments were proposed to be located within a minimum distance of 50 meters from the shoreline, by circumventing the provisions of the policy statement for the preservation, protection and improvement of the environment, as well as the sustainable use of coastal zones. & Nbsp;