A controversial bill on coastal development prepared by the Greek Finance Ministry has led to a call from Greenpeace Greece for the government to keep its “hands of the beaches.”
The bill, which is currently up for public consultation, lifts all restrictions on the maximum area designated for constructions for business purposes (beach bars, umbrellas, sun beds) and abolishes the right of the public to access beaches free of charge.
“We have the most rich coastline in the Mediterranean and we have been abusing it for decades. Enough is enough. The proposed coastal bill must be withdrawn, without a second thought,” Greenpeace said in an announcement.
If voted, the bill will also make it possible for businesses to just pay fines to legalize unlicensed constructions. Meanwhile, the Greek Environment Ministry has an ongoing campaign to demolish illegal constructions.
The environmental group is urging Greek MPs to vote against the bill and has also requested for Greece’s tourism sector to demand its withdrawal.
“The first thing that attracts tourists to our country is our natural environment and especially the beaches… The protection and promotion of the coastline is key for the country’s biggest industry, which is tourism. That should be the government’s target in order to improve the national economy,” Greenpeace added.
The environmental protection group WWF Greece recently asked Greek MPs to block the bill. According to the group, the bill, in the long term, would damage Greece’s tourism sector.
WWF Greece urged the Greek lawmakers to react so the “ecologically criminal” bill would not be tabled in Parliament.
The public consultation on the bill ends on 13 May.
To read the bill (in Greek), press here.