News that the Nicosia Municipality plans to cut down a number of trees in the capital has prompted a bitter argument between environmental campaigners and local authorities.
In an announcement issued on Wednesday, the Cyprus Green Party accused the municipality of unnecessarily felling healthy trees in an area that is already deprived of greenery.
"We are stunned to hear that the Municipality has taken the decision to fell at least 10 trees along Kyriakos Matsi Avenue which have been there for decades."
Speaking to The Cyprus Daily, greens spokesperson Efi Xanthou elaborated that the Municipality intends to cut down trees in order to ease traffic congestion in the area. However, arguments have been raised that widening the road by felling the tress will only encourage drivers to speed more and endanger pedestrians and other motorists.
"Three years ago the greens brought foreign transport experts to Cyprus to examine the area and their opinion is that congestion can only be relieved if the road becomes a one-way system.
For some reason the municipality still insists on cutting down healthy trees in order to widen the road."
The spokesperson added that the municipality has also on occasion maintained that the trees along Matsi are diseased and for this reason must be cut down.
"This is also not true as we have had our own experts examine the trees and they are in perfectly good health. The residents in the area are just as outraged over these plans as we are and have promised to campaign with us against the felling until it stops," added Xanthou.
An official at the Municipal Garden and Parks Department who asked to remain anonymous said the Nicosia Municipality is not planning on felling any trees in Kyriakou Matsi in the immediate future.
He admitted, however, that some trees are diseased and will need to be treated one way or another.
"Because of the condition some of the trees are in they pose a serious danger and we are currently examining ways to deal with this."