The state of progress

A law passed in 1997 made provisions for regulatory plans for large provincial cities (Athens and Thessaloniki already have such plans). Eight years later, the Ministry of the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works (YPEHODE) approved the technical specifications and announced the study for the Ioannina regulatory plan. Presidential decrees are also ready for the establishment of organizations that will get the plans operating at once and oversee the process of producing the studies, which are expected to be ready in 18 months. Once established, the town plans will override all previous provisions, even if that means curbing the ambitions of mayors’ for extending built up areas. «We are organizing briefings for regional authorities so that the general town plans that are being produced do not diverge from the guidelines of the regulatory plan,» Deputy Environment Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis told Kathimerini. «We want to give people livable cities and a good natural and built up environment, and that will happen in cooperation with local authorities,» he said. «But if we cannot reach agreement then we will do what must be done.»