By Humphrey Carter
THE Council of Majorca wants to introduce new laws to protect the Balearic countryside
Council vice-president Miquel Nadal yesterday unveiled a white paper for a Balearic Countryside Law which has been drawn up to ensure that the environment is “sensibly” managed and protected. Nadal said that initial soundings from the Partido Popular and the left-wing opposition parties have proved positive and the Council of Majorca is confident it can win sufficient support for the white paper to be able to put it before the Balearic parliament. Nadal explained that, in view of the fact that 80 percent of the Balearics gross national product is tourism related “it's essential that the countryside is properly managed and controlled,” adding that Valencia and the Canary Islands have already introduced similar laws. But, Nadal was quick to stress that the proposed law is not another development freeze.
He explained that the essence of the Balearic Countryside Law would be sustainable development in harmony with the region's society, economy and environment. Island councils, of which there are three in the Balearics, would have greater judicial control over certain areas of countryside which, for one reason or another, would have been classified of environmental importance in compliance with new norms included in the proposed law. Any public or private development planned for any such areas would then have to be studied and evaluated by the relevant island Council.
What is more, the Council of Majorca also proposes, as part of the new law, the introduction of a new levy to raise extra funds to protect the environment but this would be paid by developers operating in the classified areas. Nadal said that the levy would be set at between 0.5 and one per cent of the total cost of the development.

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