OECD urges stricter licenses for construction, development projects


Greece must take immediate action to place restrictions on the issuing of licenses for strategic investments and the development of public land that bypass existing zoning regulations as they pose a serious risk to the environment, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warned in its Environmental Performance Review of the country.

Examining Greece’s environmental track record over the past decade, the OECD called for an end to the legitimization of illegal construction in Greece, further measures to curb air pollution and for ministries to adopt policies for enhancing biodiversity.

The OECD presented its conclusions last week in Paris to Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis who led a Greek delegation to the French capital.

It said in its report that land use is a “complex” combination of different regulations imposed by central and local authorities according to sector and includes special licensing regimes.

Special plans aimed at facilitating strategic investments and the development of public plots of land often override local and regional planning so as to fast-track the process, it said. However, such processes could have environmental repercussions, it added.