Dust from enduro race settles on nature protection legislation

30 March 2018

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Cape Greco is not only the most spectacular area of the east coast of Cyprus, it is also known for its rich biodiversity as it is home to unique flora and fauna species. Despite its beauty and ecological value however, the area faces a number of serious threats.

Cape Greco is not only the most spectacular area of the east coast of Cyprus, it is also known for its rich biodiversity as it is home to unique flora and fauna species. It is no wonder then that the area is designated a Natura 2000 site, both for the value of its habitats and species and also for its importance to birds. Moreover, its marine area is also designated as a Natura 2000 because of the presence of important marine habitats, such as the Poseidonia seagrass.

Despite its beauty and ecological value however, the area faces a number of serious threats. Among them is a series of races taking place within the Natura 2000 area. The last example was an Enduro race (see video footage below), which took place on 4 March 2018. As soon as we were informed about the race, we contacted the Authorities to enquire whether the necessary Appropriate Assessment - as the law foresees, took place which would show whether this activity would have any negative and irreversible impacts to the protected habitats and species of the area. Our greatest concern was the fact that the race was taking place within the breeding season, and this meant that the breeding success ofour two endemic species who breed in the area, the Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear, and for which the area is designated as protected, could be negatively affected. With great disappointment we found out that, the Department of Forests provided the organizers with a permit without undertaking the necessary and lawful Appropriate Assessment study.
 


BirdLife Cyprus does not oppose any sport activity. Nonetheless our demand is that prior to any activity taking place within or near a Natura 2000 site, all necessary and lawful studies, such as the Appropriate Assessment, should take place. Only after these have taken place, will we know whether a proposed activity will negatively and irreversibly affect protected species and habitats, and it is this outcome which will define whether the authorities can issue a permit or not.
 

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