State-owned land in Akamas declared national forest

Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said on Monday that all state-owned land in Akamas has been declared a national forest park, following a decision of the cabinet.

The land covers around 75 per cent of the Akamas area or around 75 square kilometers.
“With this decision, the first part of the cabinet decision taken in January was implemented and now two actions are to take place,” Kouyialis said on Monday after the decision was announced.

“The first is hiring a consultant to tell us how to manage the National Forest Park and secondly, the Town Planning department should get to work in order to introduce a local plan for the whole of the Akamas area that involves the Natura 2000 site, and the land outside the Natura,” Kouyialis said.

The decision came after more than two decades of disagreements between Akamas landowners and the government over the management of the area.

January’s cabinet decision stipulates that private property, comprising 25 per cent of the area, will be excluded from the area designated as a national park and also allows mild development. This specific point, satisfied landowners but stirred strong criticisms from environmentalists who fear there is no such thing as mild development in an area of such environmental importance.