The Press Release of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, regarding the new environmental law, is as follows:

Athens, 6 May 2020

Info Note

What is changing in our lives with the new environmental law

No building licence without the legal disposal of rubble: Now in order to obtain a building permit, one must have arranged the legal disposal of the rubble, working with the relevant systems licensed for this purpose (AEKK). It deals with an anarchic situation that has led to pollution on sidewalks, forests, beaches and streams. In areas where these systems do not exist, a responsible statement is submitted by the citizen that the rubble will be disposed of with respect to the environment.

• Throw-away plastics : From 1/1/2021 the end is extended to plastic bags so that the provisions of the previous law are not bypassed by producing a thicker bag and thus avoiding the payment of the environmental fee. Now this “window” is closed and the pollution from disposable plastics is treated more holistically.

• Private sewers: It puts an end to the use of septic tanks in many municipalities of the country, especially in Eastern and Western Attica. The connection of real estate with the central sewerage networks, without financial burden of the owners, is financed by community and national resources.

• Dealing with the 170,000 objections that have been submitted throughout Greece for the preparation of forest maps: The objections committees are increased and their remuneration is linked to the result of their work. At the same time, properties that had been given with the seal of the Greek state – even from the time of Eleftherios Venizelos and Konstantinos Karamanlis (before 1975) – to Greek citizens for agricultural use – as long as they remain agricultural today – will normally be able to to be exploited by their owners without problems and without being considered forests. At the same time, those citizens who have already been vindicated by objections committees can take advantage of their properties without waiting for the rest of the objections to be heard throughout the regional unit.

Waste in the islands: The problem of waste on islands such as Corfu, Zakynthos, Santorini and Mykonos, which has traveled the world with embarrassing images and leads to fines from the EU, is being addressed. (FODSA) in the Ionian Islands and the South Aegean – with the participation of the region and the municipalities – who will have the managerial and technical competence to deal with the issues arising from the existing fragmentation regime. This setting is an important step towards a more comprehensive waste management system

Acceleration of licensing process: In our country today environmental permitting lasts 6 to 8 years when in other EU countries it lasts from 100 to 150 days, which has a given effect on attracting investment and job creation. The law sets strict deadlines and stipulates that, among other things, services such as forestry and archeology – which often delay the process – will be called upon to go to the Central Council for Environmental Licensing (with representatives from 7). ministries) to be placed. So things will close quickly – whether positively or negatively – and investors will not suffer for years for no reason.

Participation of certified private appraisers in licensing: The framework for the involvement of private appraisers in the environmental licensing process is set, so that there are more available appraisers and the process is further accelerated. Then there will be a Presidential Decree, which will determine their qualifications and the control they will have, which will lead to the loss of a degree. A register of certified – with strict criteria – evaluators will be created and the definition will be made by drawing lots, so there will be no direct contact between the investor and the evaluator. While private appraisers will be able to process the file of each project, the final word on approval will continue to be given to the public administration.

Increased resources and more effective protection for protected areas: A new office is founded for protected areas, by the name OFFPEKA. While to date there have been few resources available to manage protected areas (less than 10 million euros a year for a third of the country), it is now stipulated that OFFPEKA will receive percentages (to be determined by JMD) from mild activities developed in such as ecotourism, Renewable Energy, etc.

New European status in Natura areas: Instead of personal, largely regulatory, individual studies, 4 protection zones are being introduced in Natura areas (absolute nature protection zone, nature protection zone, habitat and species conservation zone, sustainable management zone). natural resources). In these areas, activities will be developed which will be provided by 23 Special Environmental Studies that will be prepared throughout the country, corresponding management plans, but also Presidential Decrees per region. It is being replaced by the hitherto opaque system for activities developed in the Natura areas – in which scholars have played a key role – with a new system that fully follows the 92/43 / EEC Directive on habitats.