An intention was to prevent construction on rustic land. | Gemma Andreu


On Friday, Balearic government spokesperson Pilar Costa gave no reason as to why the cabinet had not given its approval for a new decree of urgent measures to apply to construction on rustic land. Costa insisted that the decree had not been blocked by the parties which form the pact government and that work will continue on the drafting.

The decree was considered at Friday's cabinet meeting, an intention having been to place a moratorium on building on large areas of rustic land. A further objective was a change in classification of land for development but which has yet to be scheduled for development. Very specific rules are due to apply, e.g. there will be a maximum valid period of eight years for any development. In addition, land classified for residential or tourist purposes or for a mix of these would be reclassified so that there are tighter provisions for development.

A purpose of all this is (or was) to introduce precautionary regulation to prevent construction in areas that are considered to be at risk and need protection. This is the case in a number of municipalities, such as Campos. A suspension of building licences would therefore not allow authorisation for the construction of stand-alone homes, except where these properties are linked to agricultural units. With certain exceptions, the moratorium would be in place until town halls revise regulations for building on and the use of rustic land by amending their plans. For construction of houses on rustic land, the maximum volume was to be lowered from 1,500 to 900 cubic metres.

The new rules, it is understood, have been driven by the environment ministry, which is controlled by Més. An objective was to definitively draw a line under so-called false urban development, a controversial issue that has dragged on for years without there having been any solution. In certain instances, land for development lacks the supply of utilities. It is categorised as "urban", yet doesn't have essential requirements. Town halls would have until the end of next year to determine whether this type of land is to be classified as urban, i.e. for development, or rustic (non-development).

This false urban development stems from directives for land organisation that were approved in 1999. These directives form the basis for each island's territorial plans, but they have always aroused opposition, even within the Partido Popular. It was the first PP government of Jaume Matas which introduced them.