A project with significant extensions for the city of Larnaca is making its way with the Environmental Authority's opinion for the relocation of liquid fuel facilities in the area of Vasilikos, after obtaining a permit from the company ELPE (EKO) for the demolition of its old facilities in Larnaca.
The proposed project includes the dismantling, dismantling, and demolition of all buildings, structures, tanks, piping, machinery, and equipment that are part of the company's petroleum storage and distribution facility. EKO applied to Larnaca's Municipality on January 3, 2020, for the demolition of its facilities. Through the Municipality of Larnaca on July 15, 2020, an Environmental Impact Assessment Study (MEEP) was submitted to the Department of Environment by Hellenic Petroleum Ltd. The views of the Department of Environment of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment were given only yesterday. Now, the permit remains to be granted by the Municipality of Larnaca as an Urban Planning Authority.
The need to implement the project arose after the Republic of Cyprus's decision to move the oil and gas facilities from the Larnaca-Dhekelia road to the Vasilikos energy center. Complying with this decision, the company Hellenic Petroleum Cyprus Ltd, applied to the Municipality of Larnaca to secure a demolition permit for its privately owned facility.
In addition to the significant environmental, economic, and social benefits that will arise, besides, the decision of the Council of Ministers to terminate the use and removal of the facilities of all oil management companies that have facilities on the broader study area (Larnaca-Dhekelia coastal front) was taken into account. With the dismantling of the oil storage facilities, the site will be decongested from these activities. It will positively affect the urban organization, the environment, and the area's development perspective (urban and environmental upgrade of the site).
Based on the Strategic Environmental Impact Study of the former Refinery Area Plan under preparation, which was submitted to the Department of Environment in December 2018, this area completely changes the future use of its land from industrial to residential.
Therefore, it makes very important to study the pollution thoroughly after the decommissioning of the plant, its dispersion in the ground and the underground marine aquifer due mainly to fuel leaks, a result of the activities during the operation of the plant and the decontamination of the area for residential use.
The most important benefits that will result from the implementation of the project are expected to be the following:
• Environmental: The broader area of the facility is mainly residential and commercial. The removal of petroleum storage and distribution facilities in the area will have environmental benefits such as reducing heavy vehicle traffic, ending the emission and escape of gaseous pollutants such as volatile organic compounds, reducing the level of environmental noise, and causing ecological accidents.
• Social: Elimination of the risk that existed for the public health and safety of the area's inhabitants in case of an accident.
• Economic: Creation of development in the area, which will occur on the one hand from the implementation of the project and the environmental restoration of the site, and on the other hand, from the finalization of the new Larnaca Local Plan, which will determine the new land uses. During the comprehensive examination of the project's environmental parameters, the Environmental Authority took into account the MEEP, the specifications and other elements from the construction and operation of similar projects, the positions of the members of the Commission and other involved Bodies its spatial and environmental space.
The implementation phase of the proposed project is not expected to last for more than 12 months.