In the field of environmental planning GAIA S.A. MELETON develops environmental assessments (Category 27), primarily Environmental Impact and Strategic Environmental Assessments. The Environmental Impact Assessments are necessary in order to assess the environmental impacts of proposed projects and activities. They coincide with the final design stage of the proposed project and are approved by the Local District Administration or by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate change. The Environmental Impact Assessments are also necessary in cases where a project needs to be updated, modified or extended and depend on the level of the proposed changes. The approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment, following procedures of consultation, approval and publication, defines the environmental conditions that must be met during the construction and operation of the proposed project. The approved environmental conditions are valid for ten years and then a renewal is required. According to recent changes in environmental legislation (2011) the projects that do not have a significant impact to the environment, do not need to follow the process of environmental licensing, but the prospective investor may receive a permit issued by the District’s environmental commitment.
The Strategic Environmental Assessments are prepared for proposed plans and programs, and not for proposed projects, with a special scope while designing: General Frameworks for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, Special Frameworks for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, Regional Frameworks for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, General Urban Plans, Plans of Integrated Tourism Areas etc. The Strategic Environmental Assessments are being approved either by the Local District Administration or by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate change. These Assessments display a higher level of complexity.
In addition, the GAIA SA’s environmental divison provides support on infrastructure projects and urban planning, contributing decisively on planning issues so that environmental considerations are taken into account from the outset in the design phase and not attempted to be addressed retrospectively.
The environmental division has fully trained and experienced personnel that has deep scientific knowledge, is aware of the environmental laws and their correct interpretation and is constantly updated on developments in environmental design, both in Greece and elsewhere in Europe. The department’s personnel are regularly trained both in terms of the object of the Environmental Assessments as well as in the use of design software and other programs. Moreover, the excellent and continued cooperation with stakeholders, supervisors, and with the local community is encouraged with ultimate goal that the outcome is of high scientific quality and achieves public acceptance.
Coordinator of Environmental Project Department is Dr. Oikonomou Efstathios.