Municipalities to pay share of landfill fines

Municipalities to pay share of  landfill fines

The Greek state is turning up the heat on municipalities and regional prefectures to force them to shut down some 41 landfills that are still operating illegally across the country and find alternative ways to manage waste.

Municipalities and regions will be called to share the burden of the fines, totaling 37.1 million euros, imposed on Greece by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in December 2014 over dozens of illegal landfills.

Greece had been ordered by the court to pay a lump sum of 10 million euros and a further penalty of 14.5 million euros for every six-month period that it failed to comply with the demand to shut down the landfills.

Of the 41 illegal landfills operating today, 21 of them had been shut down and then reopened – 17 of the latter are in the Peloponnese.

The wheels were set in motion in February when the Environment Ministry issued a list outlining what share of the fines each municipality or region had to pay. The list was then sent in September to the Interior Ministry, which approved it a few days ago. All that’s left to get the ball rolling is the signature of Interior Minister Panos Skourletis.

The amount of money each municipality or prefecture will have to pay will be deducted from the amount of state funding they receive.

According to the list, the fines will involve all municipalities or regions that were operating illegal landfills at the time the ECJ slapped Greece with the penalty. The maximum amount a municipality will have to pay is 320,000 euros for each illegal landfill it operates. 

In a related development, authorities in western Attica said that huge quantities of waste from construction and demolition sites as well as end-of-life vehicles, tires and discarded timber were found next to a livestock installation in the region of Roupaki in Aspropyrgos.

Authorities ordered the immediate removal of the waste while health checks were conducted on the livestock.