Jeeps, buggies, quads ... they are all felt to have potential for environmental harm. | Archive


As the season starts, so do the excursions. To the coach, cycling and hiking excursions have to be added those by buggy, quad and 4x4 vehicle. And it is these for which town halls in Mallorca have taken steps to regulate their passage, aware of the potential for environmental damage.

Municipalities in Mallorca's east and north are among those affected. Alcudia, Arta, Felanitx, Manacor, Santa Margalida all have ordinance in place or planned. The bylaws are similar in that they prohibit motor vehicles in natural areas where lanes are not suitable for them and the environment may be harmed significantly. Alcudia is the latest town hall to introduce regulation, with fines of 600 euros for what are deemed to be very serious breaches.

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In general terms, the regional environment ministry has applied bans for areas that have forms of protection. As an example, there is a total ban on any motor vehicle using the paths in the Albufera Nature Park. In dunes systems and beach areas, there is likewise a total ban except for emergency vehicles. The ministry's authority goes only so far, however, and so town halls have to adopt specific regulations for areas that don't have protected status.

The environmentalists GOB are critical of the fact that the government and the Council of Mallorca have delegated responsibilities to town halls, some of which lack the resources to adequately implement regulations. In the view of the organisation's president, Amadeu Corbera, these two main institutions should take measures to prohibit this type of activity completely. "It contaminates and generates unnecessary inconvenience. The vehicles must be regulated on all roads in Mallorca. If Mallorca's principal value is its landscape, all of this should be prohibited; it doesn't contribute anything."

GOB intend calling on the next government for the Balearics as a whole to be declared a "natural space" in order to avoid a degradation that activities such as excursions in jeeps, on quads, etc. only accelerate, "generating avoidable environmental damage and impact".