Greece: A 5 combo tourist resort of 216 beds, located in a protected zone of the Natura 2000 site of the cycladic Milos Island (SCI), is proceeding at super-fast speed with the necessary environmental approval procedures, despite its incompatibility with the sectoral spatial plan for tourism.
The construction site hosts the most significant habitat for the local endemic and 92/43/EEC priority reptilian species Macrovipera schweizeri (previously called Vipera schweizeri). The Natura 2000 area was the subject of ECJ case C-518, which ruled that “by failing to adopt, within the prescribed period, the measures necessary to establish and implement an effective system of strict protection for the viper Vipera schweizeri on the island of Milos prohibiting deliberate disturbance of that species, particularly during the period of breeding, rearing and hibernation and deterioration or destruction of breeding sites or resting places of that species, the Hellenic Republic has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 12(1)(b) and (d) of Council Directive 92/43/EEC”.
Based on a tailor-made amendment voted by the Hellenic Parliament in November 2011, the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change has already approved the EIA and the environmental terms of the construction project. The environmental impacts are expected to result in the fragmentation of the most important habitat of the Milos Viper.
The site’s important habitat types SCI GR4220020 “Nisos Milos: Profitis Ilias-Evryteri periochi” are listed in the EUNIS database. The site has also been designated as a protected area under national legislation.
Sources: WWF Greece on the ECJ decision, WWF Greece (correspondence with national authorities - in Greek)