Unbelievable! Hardly twenty days have passed after the destructive fires in the forest of Evros, north-eastern Greece, and the Environment and Energy Ministry is licensing wind turbines parks in the burnt areas of the Evros, in NATURA 2000 areas, home of black and other protected vultures.
The Evros fires that burned out of control for two weeks has been categorized as the largest ever to have happened in a country of the European Union.
Video posted on September 3: A stunned black vulture returned to the forest of Dadia after the fires. He is looking for his nest and his family…
According to an article by the Greek Ornithology Society, the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia – Thrace (ADM-Th) proceeded a few days ago, on September 20, in the licensing of a Wind Power Station (ASPIE) within the burned area and within the NATURA area (Special Protection Zone, ZEP) GR1110009 “Southern Forest Complex of Evros.”
The licensing was, in fact, based on the unanimously positive recommendation of the Regional Environmental Licensing Council (PESPA) of Thrace, which defiantly overrode the negative opinion of OFYPEKA, the Management Unit of the Evros Delta and the Dadia National Parks for the specific project.
Based on information from the PESPA meeting, the positive recommendation was based simply on a relevant question by the President of PESPA to the General Director of Environmental Policy (DGPP) of the Environment & Energy Ministry (EEM) who “reported that the Ministry is positive with the environmental licensing of the project “, without any documentation and refutation of OFYPEKA’s positions.
While the local society in particular and the Greek one in general is still numb from the fact that in two consecutive years most of the unique Dadia National Park was burnt down, the cynicism and indifference of the Administration departments responsible for the licensing of projects, which are documented to be burdensome for the bird-life, is shocking but also infuriating, the Ornithology Society noted.
Red:Fires map Green squares: operation and production licenses – via Greek Ornithology Society
Especially at a time when the critical habitat of the black vulture in Dadia Forest has suffered such a serious blow and there is uncertainty about the future of its unique population in Greece, it does not make sense that the EEM has not taken any action to regulate, at the local level, an activity (installation of wind turbines) which is a serious threat to all vulture species.
The Ministry has in its hands all the necessary scientific studies and legislative tools for the optimal regulation of this activity in the direction of the protection of endangered vultures, however, in many cases it not only does not consult them, but even circumvents them!
At the same time, this AEPO issue is a link in an alarmingly growing chain of permits, mainly of RES projects, that take place while there is a negative opinion from OFYPEKA, which is responsible for carrying out the due assessment of the effects of projects on NATURA areas and their protected objects.
Several ASPIE permits issued in summer 2023 were rejected by the OFYPEKA.
In other words, it seems that OFYPEKA’s opinions now have a decorative value for the General Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior and the Decentralized Administrations, despite the fact that for the majority of projects, OFYPEKA is the only agency that deals with the proper assessment of their effects on the NATURA regions.
The Society stressed “we consider it self-evident that the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia Thrace will immediately revoke the AEPO for ASPIE MYTAKAS 1 & 2 within the burned area of Evros. Nevertheless, the questions to the leadership of the Ministry, which also has the main responsibility for the projects located within or directly affecting the NATURA areas, that arise effortlessly and require clear answers and above all clear actions.
source: Greek Ornithology Society
PS Why are we wondering? PM who attributed the fires to the Climate Change, said recently that the Climate change is an opportunity for the country’s tourism…
And tourism needs extra power.