Residents of Bonaire protest against the electricity cable. | L. OLMO


The name Marc Pons may be familiar to you. From 2016 to 2021 he was a Balearic government minister. A portfolio rejig in 2019 left him with transport and housing, he having previously also overseen energy. It was the latter that took him off to Madrid in February 2021 and to a senior post in the ministry for ecological transition. The hat he now wears is that of the commissioner for the development of sustainable energy in island territories.

Right now, Mallorca faces a pretty major issue with sustainable energy. No, make this, Alcudia faces a pretty major issue, and it comes in the form of the second mainland electricity cable. Marc Pons, as can be ascertained from his commissioner job title, is the man in the know, and so residents’ representatives met him on Thursday last week at the offices of the Spanish government’s delegation in Palma.

The representatives of VAAC (Vecinos de Alcudia Afectados Cable) didn’t get very far, as the commissioner rejected the proposal that the cable should enter via the bay of Alcudia rather than the bay of Pollensa. Residents have argued in favour of the bay of Alcudia, those who aren’t opposed to the project full stop, but it has never been an option because of all the posidonia, which is far less abundant in the bay of Pollensa.

Pons, now a ministry man, was naturally sticking to the ministry’s line. But even if he weren’t the commissioner and still had ministerial responsibility for energy in the Balearics, the chances are that he would have said the same thing. The regional ministry for energy transition has also rejected the bay of Alcudia. Institutionally, with the exception of Alcudia town hall, this is a project for the bay of Pollensa. The Spanish government, the Balearic government, Red Electrica all say so, the big problem being, however, where on the bay of Pollensa, to then say nothing of the land route to the substation on the industrial estate by the Es Murterar power station.

President Armengol finally got involved in all this. Responding to questions in parliament, she said that there is as yet no “definitive project” (even if VAAC suspects that there is). Whenever it becomes definitive, it will prioritise “the safety of citizens and the least environmental impact”. So, the president doesn’t know but will doubtless be aware of what her vice-president has said. Juan Pedro Yllanes, the energy transition minister, is a bay of Pollensa advocate.

Protest in Barcares.
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The residents staged a protest in Barcares last Saturday. All the political parties at the town hall attended. Further protests are being contemplated against a project that will have to be definitive sooner rather than later.

When I say that this is an issue that Alcudia faces, it is - for now - one that primarily affects people who live on the bay of Pollensa. Eventually, though, it will be one for much of the municipality because of the route of the cable. It is also an issue for Mallorca, as this second cable is key to eliminating any remaining use of fossil fuels on the island.

Where illegal holiday lets are at their highest

I was staggered when looking the other day at Airbnb’s Mallorca page. Just about the first ad was one for an apartment in Alcudia. The building was even named. It is totally illegal. The ad does not give a tourism ministry registration licence, a requirement for owners if not Airbnb. The apartment wouldn’t be able to have a licence anyway.

Tourism inspectors at the Council of Mallorca are probably well aware of this apartment. For them, it would be a question of identifying which one in the building this is, as it is so often a question. Despite the risk of being fined up to 40,000 euros, people continue to advertise illegal holiday rentals.
Data for Inside Airbnb (the unofficial Airbnb watchdog) and the Council indicate that, in our area, Buger has the highest percentage of illegal lets. There are 108 legal holiday rentals in the municipality, while there are 161 ads on Airbnb; on this basis, 33% are therefore illegal. In Muro the percentage is 25%, Alcudia 21%, Sa Pobla 14%, Santa Margalida 12%, Pollensa 8% and Campanet 7%.

In terms of number of ads, Pollensa is way ahead - 2,656. In Pollensa there are 2,445 registered, licensed holiday rentals; they are all perfectly legal. Between them, these properties have 14,194 places. That’s 14,194 people for a municipality with a resident population that is slightly less than 3,000 more - 17,126 - or put another way, eight holiday accommodation places for every ten residents. It’s a balance which somehow seems wrong, but then Pollensa has always been associated with holiday lets; more so than anywhere else in Mallorca.