The ecological watchdog in the Balearic Islands, Grup Balear d'Ornitología (GOB), has joined with other political and conservationist groups yesterday, in firing a warning shot against the bows of the new Socialist government in Madrid.
The anti-motorway lobby, which protested against the building of new highways on the Islands, was represented yesterday by GOB spokesman Miquel Angel March. He challenged the new regime in Madrid to show that they plan to stick by their pre-election promises. He gave a reminder that Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) leaders had been part of a demonstration of 50'000 people on Majorca in February this year, marching against Partido Popular schemes to purportedly eat into island territory with unnecessary road-building programmes. We are not now talking asserted March, about organising further demonstrations, but we urge the new central government and regional deputies to radically reform the Islands' Highway Plan as it currently stands. He went on to say that in the view of the lobby, the only movement that has come to light since the Socialist national election victory in March this year, was not acceptable.
March was making reference to the Balearic leader (Jaume Matas) setting aside the building of the unpopular Inca to Manacor motorway in exchange for continued central government backing for other road projects, schemes that remain equally shunned by the anti-motorway group.
GOB claim that the Socialists had promised to re-examine these programmes, including Palma's second ringroad. In spite of their initial opposition, the Socialists (in Opposition on Majorca) had always left a door open for dialogue on this point. March confirmed that this political stance doesn't satisfy the conservationists and is not in keeping with the public face that the Socialists had shown prior to the elections.
The ecologists say Madrid has now had ample time to respond to the demands of the people and are now demanding that an official change in the Islands' Highways Plan be secured which ensures greater respect for the limited territory of the Balearics.
GOB would also like to see investment in public transport, as opposed to the private car, a policy, they claim, which is not supported by the present regional government under the Partido Popular.
Meanwhile, Green Party spokesman and ex regional Environment minister, Margalida Rosselló, registered legal objections yesterday against sections of the current Highway Plan, including the Inca motorway and the Palma ringroad. She claimed that initial road building plans predicted disproportionate traffic growth.