Protection of environmentally sensitive areas in Chania with new law - 28 December, 2017
Extension of responsibilities for the National Forest Management Facility
The new bill provides for the extension of 63 existing areas, the creation of 32 new ones, while many of the extensions concern marine areas, protecting more than 20% of their land!
Especially with regard to the Prefecture of Chania, the "National Forest Management Authority" extends the jurisdiction limits throughout the Prefecture, in all protected areas of Chania and in a substantial part of neighboring Rethymno. An important development, as for the first time sensitive areas such as Elafonisi, Gramvousa, the valley of Keritis, Spatha, East Apokoronas (Georgioupoli to Kefalas), Sfakia, the region of Fres etc. will be managed by one responsible environmental operator.
"This bill is very important to me for many reasons. Above all, however, now there is a logic for the protected areas, because the participation of local communities is guaranteed, but also because for the first time the Bodies will start to receive money from the state budget. Only a little, but they will begin to receive", says the President of the National Forest Management Agency, Mr. Petros Lyberakis. At the same time, he adds that the Agencies will be able to claim funding from sectoral and European programs to reinforce their actions. [...]
However, how can the "National Forest Management Authority" manage such a large area that starts from the sea area of Gramvousa and reaches Gavdos and Rethymnon? "Before completing the bill, the Ministry asked us to do an exercise in which we were asked how many Natura 2000 sites we can still take on our responsibility and operate them in the right way. We eg. told them about Chania that with our staff we can take four other areas around the White Mountains (Kallikratis, Fres-Tzitzifes) and iof we get more areas we want additional staff.
"In this framework, new internal organizational charts have already been set up and will be put into a consultation on how each body should be staffed. We currently have 10 staff members with 5 other scientific staff at least to be able to cover our new area of responsibility. Given that, of course, we do not get involved in matters of guardianship. For the guarding and control of protected areas, I agree that we should not have jurisdiction and I agree that there are 4 bodies of guard (Forestry, Police, Port Police, Animal Welfare) and we do not need a fifth. What may be needed, but not a matter of this bill, is a Environmental Police which will assume the responsibilities of the rest of the bodies."
The most important aspect of the Bill is the increase of marine protected areas, which in Chania includes a very large area from Antikythira to Gavdos, which is crucial for the wealth of organisms that live there.
THE ECOLOGICAL INITIATIVE
"We believe that the bill is on the right track to protect and promote the natural wealth of Natura 2000 Protected Areas so long as the Ministry does the necessary recruitment of the scientific staff and the staff needed to operate the bodies as needed," says George Papadakis from the "Ecological Initiative of Chania", the active environmental organization that has for years emphasized the importance of the management of sensitive areas by specialized agencies.
At the same time, Mr. Papadakis stresses that issues related to the safety of visitors should be addressed by the timely recruitment of medical staff and all seasonal employees for the Samaria Gorge. "Another issue is the income from these areas. They must be used for their needs rather than disappearing into the black hole of debt. We must at last protect the natural wealth of our country and to deliver it to future generations as a retention for their future and to help protect the planet from climate change," concludes Mr Papadakis.
The Association for the Protection of the Sea Turtle "Archelon" also speaks for a very positive development. [...]
From: http://www.haniotika-nea.gr/prostasia-p ... periochon/