Souflias set for zoning plan turn

Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias is today expected to open up a controversial land-zoning plan to changes and improvements, sources told Kathimerini yesterday. The move would be a volte-face for Souflias, who has defended the plan, tabled in Parliament last month, despite harsh criticism from campaigners who say it would pave the way for uncontrolled construction and pose an environmental threat. It would follow a series of «green» initiatives over the past week by Souflias, including his pledge for a separate environment ministry by the end of 2009 and the unveiling of a plan to curb air pollution by targeting «dirty» cars. Today, sources say, Souflias will go a step further by calling for proposals on how the land-zoning plan can be improved. The minister may even propose the temporary withdrawal of the plan and its retabling once amended, the same sources said. The shortcomings of the zoning plan were yesterday the focus of a conference, jointly organized by Skai and Kathimerini in Thessaloniki. A similar event was staged in Athens last week.