Greece to crack down on the abuse of beaches

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Finance Minister of Greece, Kostis Hatzidakis presented a new bill at a press conference, setting strict conditions for the exploitation of beaches and seeking to bring order to the chaos created by businesses trespassing on Greece’s beaches.

According to ekathimerini.com, the new rules stipulate that the boundaries of the seashore will be registered electronically and concession areas will be strictly predetermined, with the introduction of “untouchable beaches” in Natura designated regions.

“The purpose is to bring order to coastal areas and to introduce a new logic in the utilization of public property,” Hatzidakis said supporting that the move sends a pro-environmental message that will strengthen the tourism product of Greece.

The emergence of the “beach towel” movement last summer was triggered by the public’s restricted access to numerous Greek beaches, a consequence of unauthorized encroachment by businesses setting up umbrellas and sunbeds. Local communities took matters into their own hands to reclaim beaches and sea access without incurring charges.

The concession of coastal areas will be accompanied by commitments for lifeguard supervision, beach cleaning and the installation of special mechanisms to serve the disabled. 

Beach in Messinia

The plan also foresees unhindered access to the coastline and strict penalties for offenders blocking that access.

Drones and other technological means will be used to make sure law is applied. Moreover, the tenders for the development of public property in coastal areas will be prepared digitally by the State Land Service and not by local municipalities.

This shift aims to address issues arising from the fragmentation of responsibilities related to seashore management and concession processes by municipalities.

Hatzidakis highlighted the problems of communication with municipalities last year, while noting that 1,750 violations were recorded in 4,500 inspections at beaches around the country.

Development rights will be secured by bidders via a relevant platform, making direct concessions impossible.

Source: ekathimerini.com

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