Intense reaction has been building up in recent days in opposition to plans to create a gravel quarry in the Delikipos forest, an extensive green patch in the Larnaca district, part of the network of Natura 2000 nature protection areas.
Residents of Delikipos and neighbouring areas have grown increasingly vocal against the project, the plans of which show that thousands of trees would need to be axed for the proposed construction.
The matter will be raised in a meeting to be held on Thursday at the Ministry of Environment, which is expected to take a negative stance on the creation of a quarry in Delikipos.
Concerns first erupted following a study conducted by the Geological Survey Department, which proposed four potential areas for the construction of the quarry, though thousands of trees would need to be cut in all scenarios.
One proposed area is Vavatsinia, where 15,000 trees would need to be cut, while at the second proposed area, at Pano Lefkara, 7,250 trees would need to go.
The remaining two proposed areas are in Delikipos, where the first scenario requires that 6,500 are chopped, while the second would see a whopping 20,000 trees cleared.
“The above areas constitute unique natural habitats and are surrounded by old-growth forests,” DIKO MP Christos Orphanides said, adding that “the creation of such [quarry] zones which require thousands of trees to be cut would be catastrophic for the environment.”
Orphanides called on the Commissioner for the Environment, Klelia Vassiliou, to make her position on the matter clear, and to clarify the lifespan of existing quarries, and whether an alternative solution would be to expand these rather than to create a new one.
The matter will be tabled before Parliament in its meeting next Wednesday
In an open meeting on January 30, the Cyprus Aggregates Association said that Cyprus is not in need of another quarry for another 50 years or so, as reported by a recently-formed civil society group, ‘Delikipos Forest SOS’.
The Greens Party said that plans for the quarry create “a very serious environmental matter which affects the villages of Lefkara, Mathiatis, Lythrodontas, Vavatsinia, Kornos, Lazanias, and Delikipos,” adding that “the areas that have been proposed to host quarries are only a small distance away from residential areas, which may negatively affect the quality of life of residents.”
Efforts for the creation of a new quarry have been ongoing for years, with the Government temporarily halting developments in 2013. This is the first time the matter has re-emerged since then.
According to Environmental Commissioner Klelia Vassiliou, the matter will be tabled before Parliament in its meeting next Wednesday.
‘Delikipos Forest SOS’ has also launched an online petition to oppose the creation of a quarry zone. By Wednesday night, almost 4,000 signatures had been collected.