By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THE Balearic coastline is under threat and the Balearic government yesterday received a report from the Ministry for the Environment in Madrid which draws the government's attention to 16 black spots which require “immediate attention.” The Bulletin reported on Tuesday that the Spanish government is drawing up plans to protect the Mediterranean and the Canary Island shorelines, posing a possible threat to thousands of properties built along the coastline, and yesterday the first of its recommendations which is being sent to all relevant regional governments and local councils, landed on the desks of the Balearic government.

The 16 black spots under threat from human and natural forces, such as over-development, mass tourism and sea erosion, include areas of the north coast, the Port of Soller, a number of bays in Formentor, the bays of Alcudia, Pollensa, Palma and Arta, the bays in the south east of the island, Cap de ses Salines, the area of Sa Rapita, the islands of Cabrera and Dragonera and extensive areas of the municipalities of Calvia and Andratx.

The Balearic government has been advised to start drawing sustainable management and protection plans for the areas under threat and to introduce new laws protecting them.

The report sites some 65 kilometres of unstable cliffs which, in the case of the bay of Alcudia for example, have been weakened by over-development. For some home owners in Arta, for example, the report's findings will make alarming reading. Apparently, 45 percent of the area declared unstable, has already been built on.

What is more, as if Majorca needed any reminding after the torrential rains of last month, the report also draws the Balearic authorities' attentions to a number of areas at serious risk of flooding. The Balearic government and local councils are now required to study the report, digest its contents and report back to central government on how the region intends to respond and react to the reports findings.

Around 1'000 kilometres of Spain's total 8.000 kilometres of coastline have already been built on, according to the government, and owners of properties built before laws protecting the coast came into force in the early 80's could face demolition orders being served with the local authorities liable to pay compensation to the injured parties.

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