Forest maps go up for scrutiny

Landowners and local authorities now have the opportunity to submit any objections regarding the accuracy of forest maps currently being drawn up by the government, but they will have to pay a charge ranging from 50 euros to 4,000 euros, depending on the size of the plot in question. The submission of objections by landowners will constitute the final phase of a government initiative aimed at curbing illegal construction on forestland by drawing up comprehensive maps delineating the boundaries of the country’s forests. The first two phases involved the completion of forest maps and their public display. The first forest maps are expected to go up during February in three municipalities of Attica – Marathon, Palaia Pendeli and Nea Pendeli. Once these maps have gone on public display, landowners can submit any objections to the forest boundaries as they are delineated on the maps. Other maps will be put up in other municipalities in coming months. The landowners’ objections are to be analyzed by a team of experts who will make amendments where deemed necessary and the process of shaping a national forest «charter» will gather pace. A joint decision by the Environment and Economy ministries, setting out the charges for the submission of objections to forest maps, is to be made public later this month. The chart, as it stands now, sets a minimum charge of 50 euros for landowners with plots covering up to one-tenth of a hectare and a maximum charge of 4,000 euros for a plot larger than 30 hectares. The charges paid by landowners are nonrefundable, irrespective of the outcome of their objections, and must be submitted to Ktimatologio SA, the company responsible for setting up the country’s first land register, in writing. Those who submit their objection online will be eligible for a discount.