The use of the beach in Cabrera by people who had hired out a superyacht provided one of the images of the summer. This "privatisation" of the beach was widely condemned, while its reporting catapulted the pressure group Terraferida into the public eye.
The Cabrera incident was considered to have been one of the more flagrant abuses of Balearic coastal space. There were some other examples of what amounted to private use, but the main issues in the summer had to do with so-called saturation, much of it at smaller and unspoiled beaches. The roads serving these beaches were heavy with traffic, while there was improvised car parking by beachgoers.
The Balearic government, under pressure from environmentalists, wants to avoid a repetition of the private use and overcrowding. It has therefore started the process by which it hopes to get powers for coastal management that are currently held by national government. A letter has been sent to Madrid formally requesting an opening of discussions, the aim of which will be to secure a transfer of responsibility.
There have in fact been previous contacts regarding this transfer. The previous government opened discussions only for them to be halted in 2012. The current administration wishes to reactivate a bilateral commission which hasn't met since the time that Francesc Antich was PSOE president between 2007 and 2011.
The latest approach follows the Balearic parliament's approval of seeking the transfer of powers as set out in the statutes of autonomy. This transfer isn't confined to the coasts; parliament has requested similar powers for the justice system, police and co-management of the airports and ports.
It is likely that even if some powers for the coasts were to be transferred, Madrid would want to keep hold of some of them. There are two regions - Andalusia and Catalonia - where there have already been some transfers of power.
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