Government reiterates coast battle

LAST UPDATED: 21 Oct, 2010 @ 14:43
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THE government has announced ambitious plans to return the coast of Cádiz to its natural state.

The scheme will see 187 kilometres of Atlantic coastline freed from homes and hotels built within the past 20 years and replaced with a network of footpaths and promenades. An agreement to demolish 52 homes in Rota and Vejer has already been reached with discussions ongoing with town halls in Chipiona, Chiclana, Sanlúcar and Barbate.

“This represents a radical change in coastal management policy, never before witnessed in Spain,” spokesman for the government, Federico Fernández said.

Spain introduced tough measures to clean up its coastline in October last year. Reinforcing the Coast Law of 1988, which declares any new construction within 100 metres of the shore since that date illegal, the Strategy for Coastal Sustainability intends to double this demarcation zone.

At an estimated cost of five billion euros, not only does the government want to demolish illegal buildings, it also wants to protect the coast from global warming.

Some experts predict Spain will lose 20 metres of its coastline by 2050 as sea levels rise.

Meanwhile, the developers of a controversial hotel built on protected land in the Cabo de Gata nature reserve have lost their most recent battle to save the tourist complex.

This comes after the Supreme Court of Andalucía ratified the 2006 decision to suspend work on the 411-bed Algarrobico hotel.

The ruling came after an appeal by development company, Azata, and the PSOE town hall of Carboneras, which both claim the complex is legal.

“This latest setback does not change a thing. We still maintain that the plot of land was changed to urban before the Coast Law of 1988,” said Azata spokesman Antonio Baena.

The region’s highest court also dismissed a 13 million euro compensation claim that the developers are seeking for damage sustained to the hotel during the two years that work on the hotel has been stopped for.

Baena also said the company is taking legal action against both central and regional governments.

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