Directive to Prevent Land Use Change in Northern Provinces

The government directive aims to preserve agricultural lands in Iran’s northern strip
Many of the orchards and croplands in northern provinces have now been replaced with villas and apartments.  Many of the orchards and croplands in northern provinces have now been replaced with villas and apartments.

A directive on preventing land use change and stopping environmental destruction in the northern provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan has been notified to government entities by First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri.

The directive comprises five articles defining the tasks of the Department of Environment, the ministries of agriculture, roads, interior and justice, the Islamic Revolution Housing Foundation and Law Enforcement Forces, IRNA reported.

As per the order, the DOE, along with the ministries, is tasked with using their legal capacities to prevent the destruction of farmlands and green spaces within the urban, suburban and outlying areas of northern cities.

They are also instructed to report any violation of regulations to authorized bodies dealing with administrative offenses.

The Interior Ministry is responsible for revising municipal laws regarding land use and construction, in collaboration with the DOE and the agriculture and roads ministries, and present legal solutions to the Cabinet within a month from the date of the directive’s enforcement.

The Agriculture Ministry is tasked with demolishing buildings that have been illegally constructed on farmlands and orchards in suburban and outlying zones of northern cities based on the laws on preserving agricultural lands.

In the case of farms and orchards located in rural areas whose prospective construction plans have already been approved, the interior and roads ministries are instructed to give priority to the demolition of such buildings.

The water-rich northern provinces are home to vast tracts of farmlands and orchards, as they are the main hubs of tea, rice and citrus production in Iran. However, the low profitability of farming compared with the construction sector has prompted many to change the use of agricultural lands for building purposes.

Thanks to weak laws and lax enforcement, many of the orchards and croplands in Iran’s northern strip have now been replaced with villas and apartments.  

As farms are often located on the fringes of forests, the change in land use will most likely lead to the gradual destruction of woodlands as well.

If the trend continues, aside from the destruction of natural resources, the country’s agricultural economy will be seriously threatened.




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