ATHENS – Sometimes criticized by environmental groups for its stances, Greece’s New Democracy government has moved to prohibit the building of roads and development in six mountain areas to protect habitats.
Environment Minister Kostas Skrekas made the announcement in an online news conference, telling reporters it was done because, “We have witnessed extreme weather phenomena and disasters in recent years which pose a great risk for nature and mankind,” such as the 2021 summer wildfires that swept across the country.
Greece will not allow any new roads or construction on the six mountains on the islands of Crete and Samothrace, on the Peloponnese peninsula and in central Greece – which have a huge environmental value and a tourist lure, he said, reported Reuters.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis earlier said that by 2025 Greece will make a transition to sustainable green energy and has promised to shut down nearly all its coal-fired plants by then and protect areas with native plants and animals.
After the wildfires he said there would be more measures to protect against climate change-driven phenomena he said were partly responsible and as he named a new chief to oversee the effort.
He also said he would make better use of natural resources in the country and try to balance some energy elements such as wind turbines on mountain forests that have drawn criticism from environmentalists who said they destroy green space..
Any permits of different stages for wind turbines that have been issued for wind projects in the six mountains will be canceled, Skrekas said, the news agency reported.