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GreekReporter.comEnvironmentAnimalsCourt Orders Construction of Wind Farm in Northern Greece to Stop

Court Orders Construction of Wind Farm in Northern Greece to Stop

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A wind farm on the Panachaiko mountain range, Greece. Credit: Michael Paraskevas/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Construction work on a wind farm which was being built in the village of Nymfaio in northern Greece will need to cease temporarily, a Greek court ruled on Monday

The matter, which has been of great concern to local residents, has led to their petitioning the local government. Monday’s announcement made clear that this construction stoppage was only temporary before the case is analyzed by a larger court on June 3.

Wind farm in northern Greece sparks controversy

The requests to stop works at the northern wind farm were filed by local residents as well as two environmental organizations, the Callisto Environmental Organization for Wildlife & Nature, and an organization which protects brown bears, Arcturos.

The court in Florina, Greece responded by asking that all activity on the wind farm pause until a court hearing could be carried out, arranged for June 3. It added that machinery which was found around a kilometer (0.6 miles) away from the site would also have to be removed in the meantime.

For over a week, local residents, including former mayor of Thessaloniki Giannis Boutaris, have been campaigning for construction to stop on the major wind farm.

Boutaris spoke to about his activism, claiming, “They came on Saturday afternoon, in the rain, to pass the heavy tracked vehicle, to go up the mountain to start the work. They did not even have a permit to move a heavy machine. I told them clearly: You can go over my dead body.

“We have filed precautionary measures in all relevant services. There have been and there are serious irregularities. They issued licenses 13 years ago, in 2008. Nobody tells us if they are still valid, nobody says anything. They do not show us the licenses and the competent ministry is talking about licensing in progress,” continued Boutaris.

Environmental organizations involved

The moves to establish a new wind farm in northern Greece have been rejected by a number of environmental organizations.

Arcturos is one of the groups which implored the court in Florina to force a stoppage of operations at the wind park. Arcturos is one of the most active environmental organizations across Greece and particularly in the area, as it runs a wildlife protection center and bear sanctuary at Nymfaio, south of the city of Florina.

Another activist group, Callisto, also petitioned for construction to cease. Callisto focuses on the conservation and protection of several species of large carnivores, including wolves, jackals, and bears. It coordinates regional activity from its headquarters in Thessaloniki.

The Hellenic Ornithological Society has also denounced the activities in Nymfaio, as the area is part of the flight path and environment of the Dalmatian Pelican, a threatened species of bird. It is particularly important for Greece to protect Dalmatian pelicans, as over 30 percent of their population globally lives and nests in Greece.

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