Staff Reporter
ANTI-HIGHWAY development lobbies and the ecological watchdog in the Balearics, GOB, condemned “the perverseness” of the Balearic government yesterday, in “accelerating” the beginning of the road widening works on the Inca to Sa Pobla highway.

The works began yesterday, meaning, claim the protesters, that there will be “no road back” if the Highways agreement with central government is renegotiated.

Prior to the Socialists coming to power following the national elections last March, the current Balearic government led by Jaume Matas of the Partido Popular had agreed with the outgoing government of José María Aznar for specific sums to support major highway development projects in the Balearics, one of them being the Inca to Sa Pobla dual carriageway.

When the Socialists won the national elections, Matas said that some sections of the Highway Plan would have to be put on hold pending agreement from the new central government on what funds would be made available to the Islands.

The anti-highway lobbies and the ecologists issued a joint communiqué, saying that they consider “unacceptable” the “haste” with which the works have begun on the dual carriageway, “making landowners sign the authorisation for terrain takeover, “without having agreed a fair price for the expropriation”.

Purportedly, the Highway agreement signed between the central and Balearic governments had specified that the project should have been put out to tender in 2008 and the works carried out between 2009 and 2010.

Bearing in mind the “hasty” start to the project, the lobbies and ecologists are now asking the question: “from what section of the agreed regional budget will funds be taken to put the project out to tender and to get works started immediately?”. The conservationists maintain that the government had acted “perversely” with regard to highway development; to “begin all they could as quickly as possible”, so that when the time comes for refinancing and a revised agreement with the new Socialist government, “it would be too late to turn back on the work which had already been started”.

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