Industry zoning plan

The siting of industries will now have to conform to rules laid out in the special zoning plan presented by the government yesterday. From now on, cities will only be able to host industries which have a low impact on their environment, although moving existing ones outside cities can be encouraged through the creation of new, organized reception areas. «Industries show high concentration in a few areas, mainly in Athens and Thessaloniki. Efforts to force them out obviously entail risks not only for the manufacturing sector but also for the labor market,» said Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias yesterday when unveiling the plan for consultation. The plan’s objective is to encourage high-technology investment in industry outside the two main cities, as well as in areas with the necessary infrastructure. Proposals include the creation of such reception areas at Oinofyta (in Viotia) and in Evia, central Greece, so as to lessen the concentration of plants in the capital. Another clause provides for the creation of four or five new free zones «which will serve the outward-looking orientation of industry, in the following framework: The creation of two zones in major port gateways to the country, with the possibility of specific locations in Kavala or Alexandroupolis and Igoumenitsa, and the creation of a zone at organized reception areas close to the borders in the regions of Central, Western and Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.» Industrial production The considerable rise in industrial orders and turnover in March point to a strengthening of output and exports in the coming period, according to National Statistics Service data. The rise in new industrial orders came to 10.5 percent year-on-year, mainly thanks to a 23.7 percent increase in orders for export products, compared with the same month in 2006. New orders for products to be consumed in Greece rose by just 1.9 percent in March. Industry turnover rose by 4.4 percent compared with March 2006, due to the 10.8 percent rise in the turnover of mining and 4.3 percent growth in manufacturing industries owing to an increase in clothing and chemical products.