Terraferida are especially opposed to holiday lets in apartment blocks. | Miquel A. Cañellas


The environmentalists Terraferida have made their submissions to the draft legislation on holiday rentals. The organisation today announced that they have demanded that there should be no "amnesty" for holiday rentals. The planned legislation, they said, implies "massive legalisation" of residential dwellings of all types and almost everywhere into rental accommodation.

"It is difficult to understand how a progressive government (one of the left) could include articles in a bill that would permit more pressure on land and also be anti-social," a statement read. It continued by observing that over recent years there has been an amnesty for hotel places, illegal villas on rural land, urbanisations, quarries and construction without sewage systems.  

The new law, Terraferida insist, will be a further amnesty. The government should not allow tourist use to be mixed with residential areas, and especially not in apartment blocks. The proliferation of holiday rentals triggers further the urbanisation of land, hinders access to housing, threatens agriculture because of the increased price of land, can generate conflicts between neighbours and devalues residential areas. Terraferida also complain that the law does not place a ceiling on the number of tourist places in the Balearics and does not even mention how many there are. Moreover, there is no estimation of the number of illegal places.

As well as currently legal holiday rentals, the legislation will add places and will leave the decision as to where they are to island councils via their plans for intervention in tourist areas (PIATs).

"Not setting a clear ceiling on places and leaving the door open to increasing the number of places represents a tourism policy of 'massification', which neglects the limits of natural resources, infrastructures, the true carrying capacities of the land, the well-being of the resident population and the satisfaction of visitors."

With 306 hotel places for every one thousand people, the Balearic Islands have the most places anywhere in the world. Terraferida concluded the statement by calling for a clear ceiling that cannot be raised and for mechanisms to reduce the number of places, one of which would be to remove two places for every new one that is created.