ENVIRONMENTAL authorities have pulled the plug on plans to build a golf course in the resort town of Ayia Napa over habitat encroachment.
The €140 million project includes an 18-hole golf course which was set to be built in areas designated as Natura 2000, the network of nature protection areas in the territory of the European Union.
The proposed project concerns the construction and operation of a golf course and related infrastructure in the protected areas of the Natura 2000 Network of Cape Greco, including touristic developments (a five-star hotel and villas) adjacent to it.
After evaluating the project plans, the Environmental Department found that the construction and operation of a golf course within the protected area and related tourist developments will have significant, negative and irreversible effects on the conservation objectives, consistency, structure and operation of habitats of the Natura 2000, SCI and SPA areas, CPE Greco.
The department found that the construction of the golf course in the Natura 2000 will lead to the loss of 7.5% of the local bio habitat.
In addition, the department found that the project will bring about noise pollution, lead to the loss and fragmentation of the habitats used by a number of bird species, especially endemic, for nesting, feeding and resting.
The impact is mainly due to the nature and size of the project, which is entirely located within the protected area, an area of wild natural vegetation (mainly invisible), thus adversely affecting the natural environment and wildlife.
It is noted that the study will be reviewed by the Environmental Authority and at a meeting with Paralimni and Ayia Napa mayors on Wednesday
The consortium behind the project is made up of local hoteliers known as Ayia Napa Forest Golf Ltd. According to the consortium’s plans, construction was set to begin in 2019 with the first phase to be completed in 2021.
The first phase includes the construction of the golf course, a clubhouse, tourism and commercial development and 100 villas.
A second phase is to include another 188 villas and a five-star hotel and is planned to commence in 2021-22 and will take five years to complete.