Athens bid to boost greenery

Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis yesterday announced a «greenery charter» that aims to increase the green surface area in the capital and penalize those who destroy trees and parks. As a first step, some 25 hectares of land is to be expropriated for the creation of parks and green spaces, at a cost of 112.5 million euros. The ultimate aim is to boost the ratio of green space per citizen to 7.25 meters, as compared to 6.84 meters today, Kaklamanis said. In order to achieve this, town-planning regulations will be amended to stipulate that one tree must be planted for every 200 square meters of land that is built upon. As of May, authorities will begin imposing fines for the destruction of green areas, Kaklamanis added, without giving details of what would constitute an offense. City Hall is establishing two new bodies to implement and oversee the new initiative: a planning service that will seek to create new green areas in the city and a monitoring service that will oversee and protect existing greenery.