THE European Commission yesterday decided to report Spain to the European Union's Court of Justice for infringing environmental legislation in the Balearics, Valencia, Alicante and Almeria.
The complaint involving the Balearics is regarding the controversial regeneration of beaches.
It alleges failure to evaluate the effects of extracting sand from the sea bed and the artificial regeneration of beaches in major natural areas.
These areas have rare or endangered species and ecosystems such as the turtle and the beds of Posidonia.
The regeneration refered to was done in 2002, at the orders of Jaume Matas, then the central minister of the environment and now the leader of the Balearic government.
During that year, tens of thousands of cubic metres of sand from the seabed off Banyalbufar were extracted to regenerate the beaches of Alcudia, Muro, Can Picafort, Cala Millor in Majorca, and Sant Antoni, S'Aigua Blanca and Es Figueral in Ibiza.
Sand was also due to be extracted off Ses Salines but in the end, this was not done.
The Balearic government of the time, a coalition, criticised the central authorities for not evaluating the effects of the projects in the areas.
The regeneration was also widely criticised by environmental groups, particularly GOB, which was in favour of the natural regeneration of the beaches.
However, the hoteliers fought for artificial regeneration, claiming that the natural method took too long, and without beaches, the tourist season would be a complete failure.