Greater protection for natural spaces. | Archive


A toughening of the conditions in reports on environmental impact. This is one aspect of new legislation now beginning its parliamentary process announced by the Balearic cabinet.

Under this law there is to be a streamlining of procedures to allow the creation of nature parks, a repeal of the legislative means that opened the way to the golf course on the Son Bosc finca in Muro (a development suspended for several years) and also a ban on party boats in so-called natural areas.

The law is specifically to do with environmental impact assessment and it could ultimately lead to a conflict of powers: it will oblige national government to give prior notice to the Balearic Environment Committee of projects that affect the Balearics.

The environment minister, Vicenç Vidal, says that this clause would relate to issues such as prospecting for oil. However, decisions by the Balearic government would not be of a binding nature.

Another new feature of this draft legislation is that it will not be necessary to resort to a law in order to declare somewhere as a nature park or reserve in the event that there isn't total agreement. It would be sufficient if there is the agreement of the Balearic cabinet.

Vidal is stressing that such a declaration would have nothing to do with any expropriation or loss of rights on behalf of private individuals. The minister, without having been asked, volunteered the example of the islet of Tagomago in Ibiza. He explained that as no agreement exists with the owners - specifically the real-estate businessman Matthias Kühn - under current rules a law would be required. The government is stressing the value of possible declarations of nature reserves.

Environmental impact assessments would also include, once the legislation is approved, something that national law does not make provision for: the landscape and scenic interest of an affected area.