The Chamber of Environment and Sustainability represents:
The area of Apano Meria of Syros includes, in addition to the typical phryganan ecosystem, the area “Aetos”, which is overgrown with reed and juniper, and is a forest ecosystem of sclerophyllous leaves (maquis vegetation) and (to a lesser extent) areas cultivated in a traditional manner (abandoned fields).
It encompasses a mosaic of biotopes such as: steep rocky shores, canyons, caves, streams, riparian ecosystems; in the coastal area there are sand dunes that make the area very important for bird life and mammals, due to the creation of many natural refuges. Also the sand dunes in the area are very important for the maintenance of the flora.
The whole area has suffered little human impact (no settlements, tourist facilities, etc.), resulting in a significant environmental quality. It has been selected in the National List of Sites as the Site of Community Importance of the Habitats Directive 92143IEK for the Natura 2000 network. It is also included in the list of the Corine Biotopes program of the European Union for nature protection.
It belongs to Important Areas for birds based on data from the Greek Ornithological Society and Bird Life International.
The Chamber reminds that since 1986 the area concerned has been included in the list of Corine biotopes under the code number ACO010077 Northern SYROS. Subsequently, in 1991, in the version of the Commission of the European Communities (DGXI), Northern Syros was included in the list of areas of great importance for nature protection in the European Community, according to the Corine Biotopes program.
The significance of the area for the natural environment is demonstrated by the existing studies and by the Standardized Data Format of the Nature 2000 Network, which was compiled in 1995 by a multidisciplinary team of professors and distinguished scientists from the Universities of Athens and the Aegean and the Hellenic Center Biotope Biotopes (EKBY). Its inclusion in the immediate priority category B strengthens the above, since category B includes areas with significant biological diversity. For these reasons, the area of Ano Syros was included in the Scientific Directory of Candidates for inclusion in the ‘Nature 2000’ network.
Since 1997 the Greek Government, through the Ministry of Environment, recognizing the great value of the region, included the Apano Meria of Syros in the proposed Sites of Community Interest (PSCI) for inclusion in the European Ecological Network ‘NATURE 2000’ pursuant to article 4, par. 7 of Directive 921431EEC “on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna”.
According to this, the Apano Meria of Syros has been declared in the European Community under the code GR 4220018 SYROS: Mount SYRIGGAS TO THE SHORE.
Many of the species that are mentioned in the particular region make the island particularly important at European and international level. Either because of the unique presence of endemic species in this area of the island, some of which are included in the IUCN List of Threatened Species and are also protected by Greek Legislation (PD 67181).
Bird Life International and the Hellenic Ornithological Society have included the Apano Meria of Syros in the list of Important Bird Areas of Greece due to its special importance for the bird species since 1989. Specifically, Apano Meria of Syros is of great importance for the strictly protected and endangered species: Artemis Calonectris diomedea, Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Hieraaetus fasciatus, Falco eleonorae and Falco peregrinus. (see the Hellenic Ornithological Society document of 1 July 2003)
The Chamber draws the attention of the Administration to the following:
- The establishment of the refuge concerned is already delayed in view of the deadlines of the law and no further delay is justified.
- The establishment of Wildlife Refuges is of major importance in the smaller islands, which are subject to increasing residential and tourist pressures that threaten their unique biodiversity.
- It is imperative that Circular 109867/5231/06.12.2000 of Ministry of Agriculture, concerning the extent of the refuges established in the islands, be completely implemented, according to which: a. All islands up to 10,000 ha (deserts, rocky islands, etc.) should be declared wildlife sheltements entirely. b. In the islands from 10,000 to 50,000 hectares, 40% -60% of wildlife sanctuaries are declared according to the specifics of each region, the scientific data and the relevant circular orders according to article 57 of Law 2637/98. c. In the islands of more than 50,000 ha (large islands), the forest authorities will study the network of wildlife sanctuaries in accordance with our circulars to ensure biodiversity, the protection of wildlife and wild flora and the growth of game fauna. Of course, the above area limits are indicative of the order of magnitude and not restrictive, so that they be kept with a relative broadness. Therefore, Syros either needs to expand the proposed area or in addition follow up will the networking of refuges. This is also due to the gravity of the European Natura 2000 Directive for completing the network of habitats that are a natural heritage not only for Greece but also for the whole of the European Union.
- Objections raised by various incentives from local authorities or other pressure groups (hunters, etc.) have absolutely no legal basis and force and should not be taken into account. This is unmistakably highlighted in the state environmental policy, for which there is no legal involvement of these groups. In addition, these objections express other considerations that are not protected in the present case by law. The local authorities of the small islands must understand that the true wealth and the highest priority of the islands is their biodiversity, which they must record and protect as absolutely, as the UN Agenda 21 expressly suggests.
August 30, 2003
The Chair of the Environmental Chamber
Environmental Organization GAIA
Environmental Organization EYPLOIA
Subject: The Installation of Aeolic Parks on the Cycladic Islands
k. Charalambos Kokkinos
Secretary General of the Southern Aegean Perfecture
Administration of Cycladic Island Forests
In the Chamber of Environment and Sustainability, which I have the honor to head, there have been requests from interested citizens and environmental associations that bring to our attention the problems of environmental protection and sustainability that concern the prefecture of Cyclades and especially the island of Syros.
The Cycladic islands are focal points of a millennial civilization and exquisite segments of the Aegean Sea. They are therefore precious elements of the nation’s natural capital, whose preservation should be a high priority in Public Policy.
From the consideration of the facts and in view of the legal framework governing the environmental protection and sustainable development of the small islands, such as the Cyclades and Syros in particular, the Chamber deems it useful to take into account all of the following:
As major problems of environmental protection and sustainability, some of which are old but others must be considered as urgent, and all require immediate action, by bound administrative intervention, the following must be recognized:
The Installation of Aeolic Parks in the Cycladic Islands
The Chamber has dealt with this issue, especially for the small islands, in its Opinion of 30.6.2004 on the planned wind farm in Andros where it considered this issue in relation to the increased protection of small islands as sensitive ecosystems subject to compulsory mild management only (Agenda ’21 – Ann. 17 (1992), Barbados (1994) and Minorca (1997) Proclamations. On the other hand, the whole problem of wind farms has also been investigated by the Chamber in the recent past in its Opinion of 25.9.2002 on the Prefecture of Evia, where this issue is a serious problem.
The Chamber considers it necessary to draw the attention of the Region to the need to avoid confusion between the ecological purpose of these Parks (production of clean energy) and the damage caused to the environment by the huge wind turbines of these parks, which are indeed industrial installations of high a nuisance for the natural and cultural environment. The Cycladic Islands have attracted the interest of investors due to their high wind potential. But, according to the Constitution and the international special protection regime for small islands, the Cycladic natural and cultural capital, and in particular the aesthetic landscape, are more valuable legal assets, enjoying protection against those of wind farms.
Imported wind turbines, designed abroad, are totally incompatible with the small scale of the Greek island landscape. Situated at the investors’ preferences, they cause the destruction of the corresponding cultural, aesthetic and natural capital of our islands, which is, of course, is forbidden by the Constitution of 1975 by Article 24 and the established case law of the State Council for the Protection of Small Islands as sensitive ecosystems.
The State Council in the recent past has banned the electric utility pylons in the small islands (Syros and Mykonos) and will certainly do the same in the case of monstrous wind turbines. The issue of wind farms is delicate and critical. It requires special regional planning, which is the top priority of the island’s landscape. Because this land is a major national cultural asset that sums up the millennial cultural history, the Chamber unquestionably believes that the monstrous wind turbines currently in circulation are totally incompatible with the delicate island landscape and therefore illegal and unacceptable. Wind farms in Greece will be made as required by environmental protection and not as it is to investors’ interest. The Chamber considers it a major and national risk of installing wind farms in breach of the above principles.
Michael Decleris, Chair
Τranslated by Constantine Hatziadoniu