Dear Sir, FOR some years my wife and I have been visiting MaJorca on an annual basis, most recently for two weeks in the Hotel Diana at Port de Pollenca in July. One of the main reasons for us visiting the island is the S'Albufera nature reserve.

This reserve is largely wetland and reedbeds, but some of the area in the south around S'Illot is dry, open land with scrub, supporting Stone Curlew, Tawny Pipit, Short Toed Lark and a breeding colony of the magically coloured Bee–Eaters and waders and terns on the nearby salines amongst other natural attractions.

The reserve is rightly considered to be a jewel in the island's crown and it attracts many thousands of visitors from both Spain and Northern Europe. It's lack of an entry fee is more than made up for by the money spent elsewhere on the island by the visitors.

Recently there have been several spectacular own–goals scored by the island, seemingly designed to destroy rather than enhance the tourist industry. For instance prices rose in bars by about 70% overnight when the Euro was introduced, and still the bars and restaurants wonder why their takings are down.

The most recent of these own–goals is the report in the Daily Bulletin that it is proposed to build yet another golf course at Sa Bosch, encroaching on the proposed enlarged boundary of S'Albufera and affecting directly the open habitat at S'Illot.

Just having returned from Andalucia I have seen the devastation wrought to the coastline and, increasingly the area in the valleys inland from the coast, by the fungus–like spread of golf courses, stripping away natural habitat and covering every available hectare with associated “developments”. It is a type of environmental vandalism that I thought Spain and the Balearics had gotten over following the excesses of the 1960s and 70s, but it seems that the lessons have not been learned after all.

I would have thought that the last thing the world (and Spain in particular) needs is another golf course. Natural habitat is running out at an alarming rate.

Thankfully there is still plenty of habitat remaining in the Eastern Mediterranean. Holidays are cheaper there too.

Alan S Gilbertson

Warkworth
Northumberland

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