Over the past couple of months, the Council of Majorca's agency for the defence of territory has received 46 anonymous reports of illegal building work. The figure is striking when compared with the number for the whole of 2017 - one hundred.
Since the end of February it has been possible to forward denunciations to the agency without the obligation of providing a name. Previously, the agency would only accept formal complaints, meaning that identity had to be provided. Of the 46 reports, 26 were sent within two weeks of the new anonymous system commencing.
The agency applies different criteria in that formal denunciations (with names and ID number) are given priority. The anonymous reports are not considered to be denunciations; they are instead, where the agency is concerned, "communications" without the same legal force.
These are made via the agency's website which provides an email facility. Information required includes address of the alleged infraction and the type of construction. Photos are also wanted.
Mercedes Garrido, councillor for land, explains that the agency is responsible for all protected rustic land and that more than half of town halls have transferred powers to it. Public cooperation, she adds, is always welcome and helps with the detection of infringements, given that it is impossible to have sufficient numbers of inspectors to check on work.
The agency does also have responsibilities in certain cases for urban land, but its principal competence is for rustic land. Established in 2009, it was more or less inactive until there was a change of administration at the Council of Majorca in 2015.