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Greek Environment Ministry Re-examines Urban Planning Law

Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis recently said that urban planning and construction zone procedures for the development and design of land use in Greece were being formulated with priority given to tourist destinations.

In an interview to Greek daily Kathimerini, Hatzidakis announced that a current 4,000m2 limit on construction for plots outside city planning zones would be abolished by 2022. The minister said the decision was meant to kickstart local planning schemes and ensure fairness. At the same time, the revised law will take into consideration the features of each given area based on local urban plans.

“Legislation will remain the same in its philosophy: it is a reform that aims to protect the environment and increase the value of citizens’ property,” said Hatzidakis, stressing that it was vital to bring “order to construction outside city zoning plans”, which he added does not exist anywhere else in Europe.

According to Hatzidakis, the first urban planning studies will be carried out for the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and Crete, as well as for other popular tourist destinations in an effort to reign in chaotic construction which is both impacting the environment and altering local elements.

In August, the ministry suspended the issuance of new building permits for tourist accommodation facilities on plots of land outside planning zones on the islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

The minister went on to add that the current legal framework regarding designated roads will continue to apply.

Hatzidakis also said the government was working on reducing the cost of energy.

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