Eighty-one demolition orders last year for building on rural land. | Archive

The agency for the defence of the territory (ADT) is a Council of Majorca body that checks on building on "rustic" rural land to ensure its legalities. It is also referred to as the agency for planning discipline, and many town halls have handed responsibility for guaranteeing this discipline to the agency

The head of the ADT, Bartomeu Tugores, has presented the report of its activities in 2017. There were 81 demolition orders, taking to 158 the total since 2015 and the commencement of the current ruling administration at the Council. Of the 81, Tugores suggests that the majority of building without permission was linked to holiday rentals purposes; it is put at around 80%.

This wasn't necessarily the building of whole properties but of swimming pools and extensions to house more bedrooms and bathrooms. This is why Tugores feels that the work was undertaken to provide tourist accommodation.

The inspection activity last year resulted in fines totalling four million euros. Tugores insists that the ADT's objective is not revenue collection through fines but to restore the land to its original condition. There were 707 inspections in 2017, and 100 of these were in response to a "denuncia". These came from town halls, the Guardia Civil's Seprona environmental investigation division, and from individuals, whose anonymity is maintained.

Mercedes Garrido, the councillor for land, says that it is not the Council's intention to promote a campaign of public denunciation but to campaign to make sure that illegal work is not undertaken.

The Council calculates that there are over 50,000 properties on rural land, but it doesn't know how many are illegal or have had work done without permission.