Cement trucks protest Akamas plan

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Paphos concrete manufacturers and quarrying companies demonstrated with their heavy vehicles outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia on Wednesday in protest of ‘empty’ government promises.

Some 60 concrete cement trucks were parked in front of the Presidential, blocking the road for several hours on Wednesday morning.

Concrete manufacturers and quarrying companies are angry over the state’s “empty promises” as they argue that the Akamas plan will not include a quarrying zone.

The Cabinet met Wednesday to ratify the final version of the Akamas plan.

Demonstrators demanded that the outgoing Cabinet refrain from approving the plan, leaving it to the next government on 1 March.

The protesters argue that raw materials are exhausted in existing quarries, and the situation is especially dire in Androlikou, Paphos.

This, as they argue, forces them to import quarry materials, pushing up costs.

According to reports, the new Akamas plan does not foresee the creation of a new quarrying zone.

Demonstrators are asking for the existing quarry in Androlikou to be extended.

“Large projects underway, such as the breakwaters on Paphos beaches, the expansion of Latsi port and the Polis Chrysochous highway, are at risk because of the shortages,” Antonis Latouros, a representative of quarry and cement companies, told CyBC radio.

The Agriculture Ministry’s response is that designating any new area a quarry zone without undertaking any studies would violate EU Directives and national legislation.

The government has committed to carrying out studies to create a new quarry zone.

Latouros said they do not trust the government’s promises, urging the Cabinet not to approve the plan.

The Technical Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK) advises the government and has argued that extending the quarry zone in Androlikou is not a solution.

Also, talking to CyBC radio, the president of ETEK, Constantinos Constanti, said that a characterisation study of a new quarry zone in Paphos must be carried out.

He underlined that the recyclable inert materials from demolitions must also be exploited.

Meanwhile, the outgoing government decided to publish the Akamas plan but postponed its implementation for six months until September 2023.

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said the drafting process of the Akamas Local Plan was completed with the relevant approval by the Town Planning Council.

“It appears that the Strategic Objectives of the Drafting Report concerning the protection and management of nature and the natural environment have been achieved,” said Nouris.

He added, “because it was not possible to satisfy the remaining Strategic Objectives concerning the economic and social aspect of the Development Plan, the Cabinet has authorised the Interior Minister to publish the plan but suspend its implementation for six months”.