NEWS

Court keeps Acheloos River diversion on hold

The Council of State, Greece?s highest administrative court, has rejected appeals by the government to resume of a controversial project to divert the country?s second-longest river, the Acheloos, from western Greece to the heavily farmed Plain of Thessaly.

The court upheld its February 2010 ruling that the work should be suspended. It did, however, give the Infrastructure Ministry the go ahead to carry out maintenance work on a 17.5-kilometer tunnel between Sykia and the village of Pefkofyto, near Karditsa, that has already been constructed.

Environmentalists had appealed against the project last year and the Council of State agreed with their view that the scheme would cause irreparable damage.

The ruling stated that ?the continuation of works would result in the further degeneration of the landscape, harm the river and surrounding ecosystems, have a negative impact on water levels and lead to the partial flooding of the nearby town of Mesochora.?

The Council of State has also asked for the European Court of Justice?s advice in reaching a final decision on whether the scheme, which includes a 165-meter high dam, should go ahead.