NEWS

Further delay for Attica landfill

A justice of the peace court in Marathon, northeast of Athens, yesterday decided that work on the construction of a new landfill for Attica, which it suspended last month, should not restart for at least another month to allow time for the claims of landowners to be examined. The court had intervened to stop all work just days after bulldozers, with the aid of police, managed to break through the human chain formed by locals protesting against the waste management center being constructed on a 53-hectare site in their area. The latest ruling means a further delay for a project that has been the subject of repeated legal appeals over the last few years. During that time, the European Union has exerted pressure on the Greek government for the dump to be built because the only other site, at Ano Liosia, had become saturated with garbage. The EU also wants Greece to begin focusing on ways other than landfilling to dispose of its trash. The latest appeals have been lodged by three local property owners who claim they own 20 of the 53 hectares on which the landfill is being constructed. Kyriakos Gikas, one of the three owners, recently told Kathimerini that one 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. The appeal lodged by the three landowners has the support of the local community, which sees it as a way of holding up or stopping the project completely. There were angry scenes in court yesterday as residents verbally attacked forest ranger Giorgos Fragiadakis after he said that he had no record of locals making an official enquiry in 2007 as to whether the land on which the landfill is being built was classified as forestland. The locals insist that they had made such a request. If the site indeed belongs to an area designated as forest, then construction cannot proceed.