Rivers at risk from park plan

A new decision by the Environment and Public Works Ministry grants national park status to the deltas of the Axios, Loudia and Aliakmonas rivers in northern Greece but legal loopholes are expected to curb the protection of the area. The decision follows several years of lobbying by local authorities, landowners and hunting associations, demanding that restrictions to farming and hunting activities in the region be lifted. According to the ministry’s plan, the site will be divided into four zones with graded levels of protection. In the so-called agricultural zone, sources say the proposal lifts virtually all restrictions, allowing the development of small-scale industry, small boatyards, the construction of warehouses, private homes and hotels. Stella Vareltzidou, who heads the organization managing local rivers, says the uses of land foreseen by the decision are «inappropriate.»

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