Staff Reporter

MURO
THE Balearic Parliament yesterday gave its seal of approval to the construction of a golf course on natural land at Son Bosc in Muro, claiming that the project was of “regional public interest.” The land, of high ecological value, lies adjacent to the wetlands nature reserve of “Albufera” in Alcudia and has long been the subject of hot political debate as it plays host to a variety of natural flora and fauna.

The proposal was pushed through Parliament with the joint voting of the Majorcan Unionist (UM) and Partido Popular (PP) parties, in opposition in regional government. The move was rejected by the “Bloc” coalition and the Balearic Socialist party (PSIB).

The approval for the golf course comes despite the Balearic government having enlarged a wildfowl protection zone (ZEPA) by 64 metres to extend from the Albufera park into the territory of Son Bosc. The process to enlarge the protection zone was started on 9th July in anticipation of Parliament declaring the golf course project to be in the “regional public interest.” The PP, spearheading the project yesterday in the Balearic Parliament, said that they were making a stand to protect the municipal construction licence which had been granted for the building of the golf course.

The retaining of the licence has now become a legal issue after the Balearic government approved a plan to categorise the land as an “Area of Natural Resources” which would in essence have blocked the golf course project altogether. Gabriel Vicens, the Regional Minister for Transport and the Environment said yesterday that allowing construction to go ahead at Son Bosc would mean an “irretrievable loss” for Majorca's natural territory. Vicens claimed that the argument that the PP and UM had put forward to protect a construction license” was totally out of proportion to the need to save natural island territory.

PP spokesman Cristobal Huguet said that the aim of his party's proposal was not to remove the protection order from Son Bosc but to uphold the legality of the construction licence which had been obtained through all proper channels.

Meanwhile, Balearic ecological watchdog, GOB, described the Parliamentary approval of the golf course project as being of “regional public interest” as an “outrage.” GOB said that the move was particularly reprehensible as the Balearic government had already started measures to incorporate Son Bosc in the Albufera nature reserve.

GOB pointed out that international scientific and nature conservation groups had reported on the importance of leaving the land at Son Bosc untouched, and that it was “deplorable” that the landscape was being threatened because of an opposition majority in Parliament.

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