The publication of forest maps is an on-going process we deem absolutely necessary, as together with spatial planning, they establish the appropriate technical framework for the legal certainty of future investments
However, according to the legislation and case law of recent years, even grassland areas of low and sparse vegetation, which had this vegetation even for a brief period (once) at any time from 1945 to this day, are designated as forestland.
This results in vast areas of the country (up to 85% on certain islands) being designated as “forestland” in the broader sense of the term.
On the basis of the above, there have been “forestland” designations for existing farmland and buildings of various uses –residential, industrial, tourist, commercial, etc.– regardless of whether they were built with lawful planning permissions or were otherwise approved or legalized by the state and were even held as collateral against bank loans.
Moreover, this restriction, in conjunction with other prohibitions which do not always coincide geographically with forest maps (archaeological sites, NATURA areas [27% of Greek territory], minimum distance from shorelines/riverbeds, etc.) creates a deficiency of available land for development.
In view of this reality, the government attempted to deal with these contradictions through special legislation for farmland and residential areas, imposing retroactive fines and methods for acquiring or maintaining the property, but has made no provision so far for other uses and facilities that will be designated as “forestland”.
It is imperative that the forest-related legislation be revised with the re-definition of vegetated forest areas, to secure both the legal certainty of enterprises and the necessary land for their development.