“Cemetery of trees” prompts Greenpeace action

LAST UPDATED: 27 Feb, 2008 @ 14:01
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Environmentalists launch unsustainable development campaign in Ronda

THE President of Greenpeace España has praised campaigners opposed to controversial Los Merinos golf and insisted: “You will win.”

On a fact finding mission to Ronda to research a campaign against such “unsustainable” golf schemes, Juan Lopez de Uralde said: “This scheme is one of the many environmental outrages across Spain.

“It must be urgently stopped.”

Talking exclusively to the Olive Press, while touring the project being built on Unesco-protected land, he was particularly angry that individual protesters have been targeted by the developers.

As we exclusively reported last year, dozens of individuals have received denuncias, with three expatriates Petra Wiegmink, author Alastair Boyd and David Milnes facing a 22-million-euro damages bill alone.

“To victimise individuals who protest against projects like this is outrageous,” he said.

“It is one of the reasons Greenpeace wants to come and lend its support.”

But Lopez, who has travelled the world with the organisation, was also furious that developers had uprooted hundreds of protected oak trees in order to create the double golf course scheme with 800 houses and three luxury hotels.

Referring specifically to Olive Press pictures taken last year, he said: “This is a cemetery of oak trees, plain and simple. It is a crime and a great loss for this area.
“We must keep pressure on the judiciary to act over these outrages.”

The huge pressure group – that has 100,000 members in Spain – will be concentrating this year on the rapid spread of speculative development moving inland from the coast.

Focusing on examples like Los Merinos, where – despite not having permission – developers are well underway in creating the infrastructure for 800 houses and three luxury hotels.

“These schemes are not creating development or progress despite what people claim.

“They are just building houses in the mountains, houses, many of which will not even sell.”

He made particular references to the six denuncias received by individuals, such as local policemen Juan Terroba and Paco Moreno, and the British and German expatriates.

With 95 per cent of the charges now thrown out of court, he added: “This is a victory for common sense.

“You have won a very valiant fight against these attacks, and we must not let them intimidate us into throwing in the towel.”

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