Ruling postpones work on landfill

In a small but significant victory for residents of Grammatiko in northeastern Attica, who have been protesting plans to build a much-needed second landfill for the prefecture in their neighborhood, a court yesterday upheld the appeals of three local property owners against the project, postponing the launch of work until October. The three owners had brought legal action against the landfill project as their property reportedly sits within the site slated for construction. «Of the 53 hectares earmarked for the installation of the landfill, just over 20 hectares of the land is ours,» Kyriakos Gikas, one of the three owners, told Kathimerini, adding that the plot had belonged to his family since 1917. Gikas claimed that he and the other landowners had not received any warning prior to July 7 when riot police first visited the site at Grammatiko in a bid to facilitate the access of bulldozers. «When I arrived, the roads had been closed and the police would not allow me to approach,» Gikas added, referring to the first day of violent clashes between riot police and protesting locals. Another owner of property in Grammatiko, Stavroula Drakopoulou, said she and other residents also objected to the fact that the site has been slated for a landfill – «an outdated method that the European Union has rejected» – rather than a more sophisticated facility for waste management. It remained unclear yesterday whether the ruling by the court in Marathon was likely to remain unchallenged until October. The government, which risks losing some 250 million euros in European Union funding for waste management if the landfill work does not get under way immediately, did not comment on the development yesterday.