Palma.—Although not yet approved, the plan is for the government to levy an environmental tax on hypermarkets and businesses of over 1'000 square metres.

The tax would then form part of the regional budget for next year. It is predicted that 9.19 million euros could be raised annually.
By island, 8.44 million euros is predicted as the eco-tax levy from Majorcan businesses of such a size, 440'000 from Minorca, 300'000 from Ibiza and 100'000 from Formentera.

Government sources described the levy as a “tax on environmental damage which large hypermarkets suppose.” In summary, the proposal suggests that facilities of over 1'000 square metres attract large numbers of people arriving in vehicles, either public or private, which generate their own pollution.

The tax would be graded according to the amount of surface area covered by each business. Starting at 6 euros per square metre, the tax will rise to 21 euros, with larger businesses paying the most.

However, this so-called “green tax” under consideration by the Balearic government would not include wholesalers such as Mercapalma food distributors, or food retail outlets at municipal markets, consumer cut price cooperatives and temporary exhibition site. Also exempt will be commercial centres less than 10'000 square metres in size which are devoted exclusively to the sale of machinery, vehicles, construction and industrial materials, repair workshops and garden nurseries.

Government sources said yesterday that the move was in no way intended to favour small to medium-sized businesses who have been extremely critical of permission given to hypermarkets to open on Sundays and public holidays.