Those Greek Fires

An interesting little detail in this story about the Greek fires this summer:

In the absence of a land registry and forest maps, Greeks invariably have been able to build with impunity in areas that would normally be protected.

So at least part of the cause of the fires was the absence of clearly delineated property rights. Tsk, it is something that people do try to point out a lot, that when they are not clearly marked out and registered, then you will get problems.

As with what used to happen in Portugal: if the forest burned down you would get planning permission for it. Now, as a result of a change in the law, you have to replant it. Amazingly, the number of fires has fallen.

So this summer\’s fires: not necessarily climate change, but a dereliction of duty by the Government….not necessarily the current one either. A systemic failure to allocate and then defend property rights.

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