THE major road building projects underway or in the planning stages in the Balearics will eat up the same amount of land as five years of building on land in the country. According to a government report, a total of 19'131 hectares has been built on since 1956, to attend the needs of the growing population and the ever increasing numbers of tourists. This represents 80 per cent of built up land in the Balearics. In other words, 80 per cent of all development in the Balearics corresponds to the last 50 years. The motorways and other major roads now being built or planned will eventually take up 2'000 hectares.
The chief roads are Inca-Sa Pobla, Palmanova-Paguera, Arenal-Llucmajor (which has already been completed), Palma-University, third lane of the Inca motorway, widening of the Manacor road, Ibiza-airport and various by passes. The road which was to have the greatest impact on the countryside, the Inca to Manacor motorway, taking up 350 hectares, has been postponed, at least during the current legislature. In the Balearics, an average of 382.62 hectares of rural land is built on every year, so the road building is the equivalent of average development over five years. The government report says that five per cent of the territory of the Balearics has been developed, compared to just one per cent in 1956.
The 19'131 hectares which has been developed includes 42 hectares gained from the sea, used mainly for new port installations.
Quarries and golf courses were not included in the section of land for urban use, but they do have a separate section in the report.
In 1956 they occupied 199 hectares, but by the year 2000, they occupied 2'239 hectares. Despite this huge increase, they account for just 0.45 per cent of the total area of the Balearics.