Landscape and climate change criteria are paramount. | Teresa Ayuga

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The Council of Mallorca's amended territorial plan addresses the issue of the building of houses on slopes. Where there is an incline of 50% or more, at least half of the plot not built on will have to be preserved in its natural state. This, in practice, will prevent this type of land from being completely excavated.

A sixth of vacant land for residential use in Mallorca falls into this category - 362 hectares out of 2,160. Areas of the island affected include Son Vida in Palma, Canyamel in Capdepera and Cala Llamp in Andratx.

The councillor for territory, Maria Antònia Garcías, says that plots are often emptied of vegetation. "This destroys the landscape, because natural land is replaced by that which is completely built on."

The territorial plan states that the landscape impact "radically" alters the topography. The aim therefore is "to avoid the destruction of natural slopes that are transformed into developed terraces without vegetation". This will be in line with the plan's criteria for protecting the landscape and mitigating climate change. "We are asking that plots are built on in another way."

Miquel Vadell, the director for territory and landscape, says that plots have become "quarries", as thousands of cubic metres of earth are removed. He adds that no matter how much decorative vegetation is planted at the end of the work, the visual impact is still very great.

Keeping part of a plot in a natural state will "guarantee a permeable surface so that the natural water cycle is interfered with as little as possible". Maintaining the natural conditions of native vegetation is a "fundamental" ecological value to help protect the land.