THE central government in Madrid has put on hold the construction of the undersea gas pipeline planned to link the mainland with the Balearics whilst an environmental impact survey is undertaken.

Plans for this major marine engineering project were set in motion following a series of damaging power failures in 2003 in the Balearics. Talks between regional president Jaume Matas and the then Spanish prime minister, José Maria Aznar, resulted in a central government commitment to financing a significant part of electricity and gas supply links with the mainland to ensure a more substantial infrastructure for the Islands.

The works which were due to start in July of 2009, have now been put on hold by the Ministry for the Environment who have officially requested that Enagas have a survey carried out to give a complete picture of just what damage such an ambitious project may inflict. The timing of the survey looks set to block the start date of the works and the present Spanish government won't commit to specifying another until they have seen the results of the survey.