The Greek Constitution 1975/1986/2001 does not explicitly refer to landscape protection. However, it states that “the protection of the natural and cultural environment constitutes a duty of the State and a right of every person”. Hence, it is argued that the landscape is indirectly protected in the context of the environmental protection, taking into account the holistic character of the landscape, the natural and cultural components of which are taken together.
Concerning the extent to which the landscape protection is connected to the legislation, the Greek legislation does not provide any specific law dedicated exclusively to the protection of landscape. However, the landscape protection is included in legislation dealing on the one hand with the protection of the natural environment and mainly the designation of protected areas and on the other hand the protection of cultural heritage.
Greek Act 1650/1986 is the only national statute that perceives landscape in its both natural and cultural dimension. Particularly, it defines environment as “the total of the natural and manlike factors and elements which are in interaction and affect the ecological balance, the quality of life, the health of residents, the historical and cultural tradition and the esthetic values”. It appears that the legislator has established a broad scope including the landscape protection, without distinguishing areas of outstanding beauty and those that are not. Nevertheless, by categorizing the landscapes into protected areas and not protected ones, it mainly protects only the landscapes that are classified as valuable.
It is important to stress out that the role of the landscape in Greece was strengthened by the establishment of the ‘Special Framework for the spatial planning of RES’, FEK B 2464/2008. The special framework for the RES determines concrete rules and criteria for the site allocation of RES projects, per RES category and type of geographic area, and provides a clear framework to the competent authorities and the interested investors, limiting the ambiguities on land uses conflicts. Importantly, the landscape is perceived as a basic factor for the sustainable siting of renewable energy installations and their harmonized admission into the natural and cultural environment. Lastly, the ratification of the European Landscape Convention by the Hellenic Parliament in February 2010 has been seen as a positive development for the protection of the Greek landscape. Nevertheless, it should be acknowledged that its effective implementation and comprehensive integration into the Greek policies is considerably problematic.
Sources: L. 3827/2010 “Implementation of Landscape European Convention in Greece”, Decision 49828 FEK B 2464/2008 “Special Framework for the Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development for the RES”, Maria E. A. (2009) “The legal protection of landscape in international, European community and national law” Ant. N. Sakkoulas.