GLOBAL conservation group Oceana yesterday called on the Balearic government to step up its bid to halt oil prospecting from going ahead in local waters to the south of Ibiza.

Madrid has granted Edinburgh-based oil company Cairn Energy PLC two licenses to prospect for oil in Balearic and Valencian waters, but while the regional government in Valencia has agreed to take a very strong stance against the project, Oceana is urging the Balearics to get tougher.

Oceana's primary concern is over safety following the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the continual leaks emerging from an oil platform off Tarragona on the mainland.

Oceana wants the governments to look into new and alternative energies such as wind power as opposed to continuing the exploitation of fossil fuels which goes against the European Union's energy policies to which Spain has signed up. Spain, says Oceana, should therefore be respecting them.