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Greece mandates risk assessment reports for properties near forests

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Property owners in Greece must submit risk assessment reports by June 21

As reported by THEMA, property owners in Greece with land near forests must submit a risk assessment report by June 21.

The deadline for land clearing is June 30.

Amidst these looming deadlines, some owners are panicking and hiring bulldozers to remove all vegetation, fearing fines.

Government sources, however, emphasize preparation over fines, especially for those at high risk of forest fires.

The cost of drafting the report, which remains valid for subsequent periods, starts at €150 for a residence and varies based on the property’s size and characteristics identified by the technical scientist.

Industry experts explain that the average price for most properties ranges between €400-500, with costs reaching or exceeding €5,000 for special cases like industrial properties.

Government guidelines and measures

Government sources told THEMA that technical scientists must identify risks and suggest indicative measures.

They stated: “The law is flexible. The goal is to have a technical report that identifies the risks, explains where a fire might come from, where the occupants should escape, and how the house can be saved.

“Citizens should have this study to stay informed, do the necessary pruning, and take additional measures suggested by the scientist later.”

Government representatives also highlighted the importance of moderation and logic in preparing for forest fires.

They emphasized that the Fire Department would defend houses, so making them defensible is crucial to saving both homes and forests.

Compliance declarations and preventive actions

This year, property owners must submit compliance declarations and take necessary actions recommended by technical scientists.

These include defining danger zones, issuing building assessment reports, and determining preventive fire protection measures such as access routes, buffer zones, material storage, regular cleaning, and evacuation plans.

Municipalities will accept declarations and conduct random checks to minimize social impact, prioritizing high-risk areas like institutions housing the elderly or children.

They have received €30 million for fire protection of settlements in forest lands, requiring only the technical report this year.

Permits and fines

Permits are needed only for construction-related works not exempt from building permits or small-scale construction approvals.

No permits are required for preventive measures like clearing vegetation and cutting tree branches.

However, small-scale construction approvals are needed for protection zones in certain areas.

Fines for not submitting the risk assessment and technical report range from €0.10 to €0.40 per sq.m. based on risk level, with a minimum fine of €250.

After a two-month compliance period, fines are adjusted based on actions taken.

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