There are fears that removing exclusion zones in the Tramuntana will be environmentally harmful. | J. Martiny

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A study by the environment department at the University of Alcalá has concluded that changes to Balearic environmental legislation will lead to significant negative impacts on conservation and on the most sensitive species in the Tramuntana mountains.

The Alcalá investigation was commissioned by the Mediterranean Wildlife Foundation (FVSM), which was concerned about the potential consequences of allowing Walkers into Exclusion zones in the mountains. Changes to regional legislation, approved at the end of July and in effect since 20 August, broaden the rights of access to more than those engaged in scientific conservation activities: walkers can now enter zones previously off-limits to the general public.

There are more findings to come, but the FVSM has publicised initial ones, having lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman at the end of September which argues that the legislative changes are unconstitutional. The research notes that the Balearic government anticipates that more than 300,000 people will visit the former exclusion zones between October and April.

Conserving the three per cent of the mountains which corresponds to these zones, the study concludes, will not affect the tourism value or the development of tourism. But opening them up in an uncontrolled manner will cause serious harm to the flora and fauna.

The legislation clears the way to, among other parts of the mountains, the recovery of public right of way on the Cami Ternelles in Pollensa. This right of way had been recognised by the Supreme Court but was subsequently annulled by the Balearic High Court precisely because there were exclusion zones for the Cala Castell and the Castell del Rei.