Town plan changes in offing

Public Works and Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday that he would this summer be announcing changes to the law on town planning, which will affect the criteria for issuing building permits and is aimed at speeding up the process for areas to be incorporated in town plans. «As far as construction that is not included in town plans is concerned, we have decided not to ban it completely but to severely limit it with specific measures,» he said. He also called on opposition MPs yesterday to submit their suggestions on the changes that should be made to the land-zoning plan he has tabled in Parliament. It was the second day of debate on the zoning bill and Souflias, speaking to a largely empty house, said he expected specific proposals from the opposition parties, which have criticized the draft law. «In Greece, we talk about protecting the environment when the basic tools to achieve this, such as a zoning plan, a forest register and a land register, are missing,» he said. «In Greece, we are hypocrites.»