The minister for energy transition, Juan Pedro Yllanes (centre) at a solar park in Consell. | Archive


Agricultural and environmentalist organisations in Mallorca are demanding that the Balearic government halts an "avalanche" of requests to create large photovoltaic parks on rural land. They say that there are currently 60 projects being processed, ten of which - the largest - would occupy a combined total of 3.5 square kilometres of agricultural and forestry land.

The Spanish Society of Agricultural Ecology, the APAEMA association for organic agriculture and livestock have come together with GOB, Friends of the Earth, Terraferida, Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion in criticising the proliferation of photovoltaic projects in the Mallorcan countryside. "The delicate situation of agricultural activity is worsening by adding new pressure on the land to the point that some farmers have been forced to leave the land they cultivated because owners are renting it out to build these parks."

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They are especially critical of the fact that the Balearic government has been declaring these "strategic industrial projects", which means that administrative procedures are loosened and made more flexible. This is being done, they say, with the approval of town halls, the Council of Mallorca, the government directorates for industry and energy, "and unfortunately also the ministry of agriculture".

They are calling for an immediate moratorium on new solar plants on rural land, recent ones to be announced having included "emblematic" fincas such as Mainou in Consell, where there is a project for 52 hectares of solar panels. "A change in land use is being made from agrarian to industrial without any territorial or economic planning and without rigorously measuring environmental impacts."

The ministry for energy transition says that it requires public consultation and environmental procedures for projects, even though a Spanish government decree law doesn't oblige the ministry to undertake either of these. "It is not our priority to use rural land. But if this land is used, the developer must facilitate agricultural or livestock production of similar scale elsewhere. In no instance should agricultural production decrease."