Environmental licensing, spatial planning & energy cost progress

In a government consultation on industrial policy headed by the Premier Antonis Samaras, the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis presented on Tuesday his ministry’s initiatives on the facilitation of the environmental licensing of businesses, spatial planning issues and the reduction of energy cost.

Maniatis said that the ministry’s measures on the environmental licensing of businesses have so far led to yearly savings of 85 million euros, as the licensing procedure has been limited to less than 2,500 businesses a year, down from 21,500 businesses.

On the spatial planning issue, the minister underlined that there has been a drastic reduction to a period of 3-5 years – from what used to be 20 years – of the spatial planning approval procedure. Maniatis also mentioned that a bill including the urban and spatial plans of Athens and Thessaloniki is expected to be approved by the Parliament on Wednesday, while the Regional Spatial Plans are undergoing a consultation phase.

The minister also mentioned the developments in the energy sector, which include an agreement with the European Union to offset the yearly cost of CO2 emission rights by 20 million euros (140 million euros by 2020). Maniatis also emphasized that already 80 middle-voltage industries have signed new electricity contracts with the Public Power Corporation (PPC) taking advantage of its new lower pricelist, offering them savings of 15% in energy provision.