The new bill on strategic investments, which has been put to consultation, gives extensive rights to use the seashore to individuals, legitimizing the ban on access to beaches for the public. This is a problem that we are already facing in Ios, especially in the area of Avlaki Papa, without the existence of a relevant law, simply because some individuals have decided arbitrarily. The following article contains documented reactions to the bill by competent bodies

A harsh and substantiated criticism is unleashed on the provisions of the bill on strategic investments, which provide for the bypassing of urban planning legislation and construction on the coast, and it is emphasized for the relevant articles that: Only withdrawal and apology!

– “The proposed bill gives the gratuitous shot to the long-term abuse of the country’s coasts. The legislator declares, unequivocally now, that the seashore, the beach and the sea cease to be ecosystems and shared public goods “.

This is also emphasized by the Chamber of Environment and Sustainable Development, regarding urban planning, spatial planning and the coast, by intervening in the public consultation on the draft law of the Ministry of Development on “Strategic investments and improvement of the investment environment through accelerated privatization processes” and strategic investments “.

At the same time, WWF Hellas announces a court action for annulment in case the relevant regulations are voted in the Parliament, pointing out that it is “of dubious constitutionality, a crisis that the competent courts will probably be called upon to express”. The Association of Greek Urban Planners (SEPOX) also states that it “annuls spatial planning at all scales, from national and regional (spatial plans) to local (road plans and city plans and / or urban studies)”.

Loud absences

Compared to the great pan-Hellenic reactions that canceled the then bill for the seashore in 2014, the number of observations and interventions of bodies and citizens, which were submitted for the articles in question in the public consultation of the bill, which is already completed while the names of environmental organizations, scientific organizations and institutions are absent from the consultation. However, in terms of scientific documentation and weight of arguments, the interventions submitted are a catapult.

Catapult interventions

Of particular importance is the intervention of the Chamber of Environment and Sustainable Development, founder and honorary president of which is the honorary vice president of the CoC Michalis Dekleris. Scientific Council with the participation of many and important experts and members of the academic community.

It is noteworthy that the Chamber of Environment and Sustainable Development points out that:

The regulations in question are in conflict

-with science (coastal geology, sedimentology, geological oceanography),

-the Constitution (Article 24),

-the principle of sustainable development,

-international and EU law (principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management),

-the principles of Marine Strategy and Maritime Spatial Planning,

the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean,

-The Protocol on the Integrated Management of the Mediterranean Coastal Zones, ratified by the decision of the EU Council 4/12/2008 etc.) And

-the established case law of the Council of State.

Remarks that test the government’s commitments and announcements for the protection of the environment and the response to climate change, at a time when the announcements of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself at the TIF about the initiatives he undertakes in the framework of the Mediterranean Summit are fresh. Countries, see here at ecopress for the marine environment and the protection of biodiversity.

What is changing on the seashore

– “The only one who does not seem to know this is the Greek legislator. He insists over time and stubbornly to consider the coastal zone, the coastal area, and even the sea area, as his private property, which he can treat at will “, says the Chamber of Environment and points out that the bill provides:

The conversion of the Greek coasts and seas from a critical element of the natural environment and common public goods to a private plot available in the market for each use
The legislator declares, unequivocally now, that the seashore, the beach and the sea cease to be ecosystems and communal public goods.
The proposed bill gives the gratuitous shot to the long-term abuse of the country’s coasts.
From now on, the coastal zone is treated as the attractive consideration offered to potential investors, strategic and non-strategic, in order to entice them.
They can crush it, create alluvium, even islands, block it from any access, build it and generally treat it in any way their investment plan has imagined. And in addition they do not have to worry about terms and prohibitions
As for the free access of citizens to the coast and the sea, Article 5 of the bill is clear. If the investor is bothered, the use in any way by third parties is prohibited.
In short, the critical articles 3, 4 and 5 of the bill cannot be commented on or improved. Only withdrawal and apology.

Scientific inadequacy of the author

Professor George Chronis, former Director of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (institutional scientific adviser of the Government) and member of the Scientific Council of the Chamber of Environment, as noted in the consultation by the Chamber of Environment points out that the role of human intervention in to change the entire coastline in a time that no one can capture. All you have to do is throw a boulder two meters away from the shoreline towards the sea to immediately receive the reaction of nature. In two months at the most, the coastline will be united with the boulder. A lesson for children, and yet in a large number of Greek coastlines dozens of qualified engineers and even port professors have been harassed […]
The most important feature of Article 5 of the bill is the scientific inadequacy of the author in terms of the dynamic processes that prevail on the coast and are due in particular to the wind and the prevailing ripples. The displacement of the seashore (land beach) to the hydrographic zero of the coastline due to its promotion (due to the constructions on it), will cause alteration in the cross section of the beach resulting in the disturbance of the hydrodynamic balance. The same article allows the creation of “even alluvium”. The sentence is completely vague and dangerous. As is well known, the Treaty of Barcelona prohibits dapping at sea. The country’s coastlines have already suffered the most environmental harassment through “upgrade” programs. There are thousands of examples such as the beach of Katerini, Crete, the coasts in the northern Peloponnese, etc.

Constitutionality of the arrangements

Regarding the Constitutionality of the regulations, the Chamber of the Environment points out that bathing, the protection of traditional ports and the morphology of the coasts of traditional settlements, the prohibition of expansion or the creation of new settlements on small islands without regard to their spatial plan, etc. ”

WWF Greece

WWF Hellas for the regulation for the seashore points out that: “The provision to some extent reflects current regulations (8 Law 3894/2010, 14-14a Law 3986/2011). In any case, and for the reasons discussed below, the current regime is deteriorating.
First, it should be noted that the current strategic investment regime allows for the prohibition of the use of the coastal areas of the strategic investment, but only in the case of “properties created by the shifting of the seafront, due to construction or expansion”; projects or alliances ”(cf. 8 par. 4 and par. 5 of law 3894/2010). On the contrary, the proposed provision provides for the prohibition of use in all cases of concession of use and seashore (cf. combined, par. 6, 4 and 3). In this way, the bill creates an incentive that favors the alteration with technical works of the natural relief of the coastal zone, while it should ensure the exact opposite – strategic investments that are, as far as possible technically, part of the natural relief of multiple endangered coastal zone.
Secondly, the bill and the current regulation contradict each other, because the “concession of simple use” (par. 3) – that is, the concession that does not affect the common character – is incompatible with the prohibition of the use of the seashore by third parties (par. 6). The legislative will should therefore be articulated precisely, ie the exclusion of the beach from third parties, in order at least to facilitate its consultation and evaluation.
Thirdly, we point out the great expansion of the concept of strategic investment, introduced by the bill (cf. 1 par. 1 of law 3894/2010, in relation to article 1 of the bill).

Finally, it should be noted that the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol, which is part of national and EU law, requires spatial planning of the coastal zone [art. 6 f) and 20 of the Protocol]: this requirement is not satisfied either by the ESCAs of Article 10 – which are drawn up a posteriori to serve the investment, and in any case are not mandatory – nor, much more, in the event that they are not drawn ESCASE (cf. par. 2).
In times of climate crisis, coastal protection must be addressed as a matter of urgency for the protection of people and infrastructure from climate change. “Unfortunately, this bill directs the development course of the country in the opposite direction and worsens both the vulnerability of strategic investments and the financial costs from extreme weather events.”

WWF Hellas points out, among other things, that: which “are identified and specialized in the National Spatial Planning Framework” are of negligible value. Unfortunately, the legislation does not know the “National Spatial Planning Framework” (with capitals), and it is unknown whether the “National Spatial Strategy” (3 par. 1 Law 4447/2016) or the “spatial planning system” is implied [ 1 c) Law 4447/2016]. If the first is implied, then it should be noted that not only has it not been issued yet, but it is not binding (3 par. 1 Law 4447/2016), so the reservation in its favor has no legal consequences.
Moreover, in contrast to other similar urban or spatial planning provisions, which allow derogations, the derogations of the commented article are not subject to any restriction (cf., for example, the “derogations” in the context of the out-of-plan construction, 33 Law 4759/2020). This is an unlimited authorization that allows anything and anywhere to be built. In essence, the derogation is tantamount to modifying a city plan, and requires a strategic environmental impact assessment, as required by EU law: this is especially true where strategic investments are located in sensitive areas (3 (3) of Directive 2001/42) . It should be noted that, even under Greek law, such derogations require a special study (ΣτΕ Ολ. 123/2007, 27/2014, 376/2014), which will document that the relevant weightings have been made on the basis of science ( 24 Σ) ».

ΣΕΠΟΧ

In his intervention, SEPOH notes in detail that “the possibility given in article 4” Urban planning regulations “of the s / n, on the one hand for special derogations from the applicable terms and building restrictions of the location of ESHADA and ESHASE, and on the other hand by its provisions New Building Regulation (Law 4067/2012, A ’79), annuls the spatial planning at all scales, from the national and regional (spatial plans) to the local (street plans and city plans and / or urban studies), expressing thus a more general spirit of design degradation and the necessary investigation of any local and supra-local interdependencies “.