NATURAL ground at Son Bosc in Muro alongside the Albufera nature reserve has been granted further official protection, the regional Environment ministry confirmed yesterday..

Minister Biel Vicens said that 64 hectares of land at Son Bosc have now been catalogued under “ZEPA” - a European Union backed project aimed at prohibiting development in areas which are used for nesting by wildfowl.

The move has created yet more difficulty for the constructors of the hotly-disputed golf course at Son Bosc, Andreas Eltsner and Guillem Mercadel. The men said yesterday that they had received no notification as yet about the newly protected ground, but said they would be seeking advice from their lawyer.

Work on the construction of the course has been held in abeyance since 18th September last year because it had encroached on the ground that has now been officially declared as protected.

The Environment ministry has defended its move by saying that Son Bosc plays host to pairs of rare marine falcons for nesting and feeding. A spokesman gave assurances that the golf course builders could continue their work on land at Son Bosc which is not covered by the new bylaw but modifications to the plans would have to be made because they have now been officially prohibited from digging up ground in some areas.

The adjacent nature reserve of S'Albufera already enjoys protection of 2'199 hectares of its wetlands thanks to the EU “ZEPA” scheme. The Majorcan Socialist group PSM praised the move by the Socialist-led Environment ministry yesterday, saying that unbridled destruction of the landscape and its rare flora and fauna has now been stopped.

The extra 64 hectares of “ZEPA” has also been met with a warm response by the Ramsar convention, an international organisation which promotes the protection of natural wetlands on an international scale.

The convention is active in 160 countries world-wide including Spain and monitors no less than 1'898 separate areas of natural wetlands.