Controversial change to forest maps abandoned after campaign


Legislation that environmentalists feared would allow authorities to make legal buildings constructed in forest zones was withdrawn from the multi-bill voted through Parliament on Sunday.

The Greek branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) hailed as a success the campaign, which began when the omnibus bill was presented on Wednesday, to have the provision removed.

“I am glad that the environment minister made the correct move for the environment, even if it was delayed,” said Theodota Nantsou, head of policy for WWF Greece.

The scrapped draft legislation stipulated that new forest maps should show illegal constructions – designated as “residential clusters” – in forested areas, raising concerns that this will eventually lead to their legalization through the back door.

Environmental campaigners insisted the maps should only delineate which areas are forested and those which are not.