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Concerns raised over solar parks installation in agricultural areas

June 23, 2018 at 4:32pm
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There has been a significant increase in the number of the applications for environmental approval and planning permission for the installation of solar parks throughout Cyprus.

Eleven new Environmental Impact Assessment Studies have been published in recent weeks, concerning the construction of 11 solar farms on public land, within the Agricultural Zone (C3) in Avdillero village, Larnaca, as well as within the Natura 2000 Special Protection Area near Koshi – Pallourokampos.

However, the submission of 11 different urban planning applications and environmental studies for 11 photo-voltaic parks by the same operator and the same consultancy for the same type of development in the same area, raises concerns about possible risks of undesirable effects on the environment.

Furthermore,  several agricultural organisations has reacted, insisting that permissions for photo-voltaic farms should be granted only for installations in arid regions, a position entirely shared by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Additionally, the Department of Environment proposed that a licence should not be issued for each project separately, but a Strategic Environmental Impact Study should be carried out over the siting of such projects instead.

Responding to the complaints Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis, told Phileleftheros newspaper that the Ministry of Agriculture aspires to preserve good, fertile land, which is a sine-qua-non for further agricultural development.

In light of the above, the real challenge is now to ensure the coexistence of agriculture and solar farms.