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Golf course threatens Loggerhead Turtles in South

13 June 2013

The Limni Site, an area from Yialia to Polis on the north coast of the island, is a major nesting site of Loggerhead turtles and has been included in the Natura 2000 network (known as the Polis-Yialia site). The area includes a 10 km long beach and the adjacent marine area. However, the land and marine areas included in the site have been reduced very significantly compared to the original proposals (500m), and the width of the coastal area now is on average about 100m and in some places less.

There are still no management measures in place and development in the immediately adjacent area (in some cases 60m from the sea) has proceeded very rapidly on some stretches of the site, with no regulations to guide it in such a way as to minimise impact (e.g. lighting etc). The relevant provisions of the Town and Country Planning legislation included in the Countryside Policy for Polis are evidently receiving little attention, but even if they did, the Countryside Policy for Polis, does not include the Yialia area.

Although the Government’s 2010 Report states that the area is protected under “several national laws”, protective measures are not actually implemented.

Following a tender award by government, a management plan for the Polis-Yialia area (as proposed to the EU as a Natura 2000 site) is now complete and covers the area in its now reduced form (in comparison to the 1998 LIFE Project), while a permit is being considered to develop beyond the site what could be the biggest golf course and villas complex in the Mediterranean. Because of this, implementation of the management study, however good, is unlikely to effectively protect turtles either on land or in the sea.

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