16 Oct, 2009 @ 17:05
1 min read

Los Merinos would ‘gravely endanger’ local ecosystem

THE water supply to seven towns could be affected if controversial golf project Los Merinos is allowed to go ahead.

An in-depth study by three professors of hydrology and geology insists that the illegal project of 800 houses and three luxury hotels should be urgently cancelled.

The 60-page report comes at a bad time for Ronda mayor Antonio Marin Lara, who is due in court this week over corruption charges concerning the project.

The plans – originally passed by decree by Lara – would seriously reduce the supply and quality of water to nearby towns Cuevas del Becerro, Arriate, El Burgo, Serrato, Los Prados, Setenil and even Ronda itself.

Furthermore, the diverse ecosystem of the site – a Unesco Biosphere Reserve – would be completely destroyed.

“If this project does eventually get the go ahead then there will be widespread contamination of water.

The three professors from Oviedo and Zaragoza universities say it is vital to introduce special protection measures to “block the proposed work that will destroy the rich natural habitat,”.

“There is no doubt that the development will put the local ecosystem in grave danger,” concludes the report.

The study, which took months to undertake, has now been presented to the relevant local councils as well as the court presiding over the case.

It comes as environmental group Ecologistas en Accion, expressed its fears that Unesco will withdraw its Biosphere Reserve protection for the area if works continue.

Spokesman Juan Terroba said: “This whole saga goes directly against EU directives and brings shame upon the Andalucian authorities.

“If this project does eventually get the go ahead then there will be widespread contamination of water.

“Not only that but the supplies to nearby towns, in particular Cuevas del Becerro, would be restricted.”

Work has been ongoing on the 800 hectares of virgin woodland for the last two years, despite the fact that neither the Water board, nor the Junta’s environment department have sanctioned it.

The 90-million double golf course scheme has been plagued by controversy ever since it was first proposed.

Expatriates who initially opposed the project were subjected to mafia-style harassment by the developers after they signed petitions and were quoted as opposing the plans in the media.

The developers even launched a 22 million euro lawsuit against a trio of expatriates who had voiced their opinions publicly.
While it was thrown out of court, the stress of the case was said to have contributed to the ill health that led to the death of ‘gentleman’ scholar Alastair Boyd, one of the trio.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. Scrap the entire village and town hall mayor system as a proven mistake. These people seem to be totally unable to work for the benefit of the electorate and see the job as a licence to line their own pockets. The Junta should take over the running of every village and town hall and Central government in Madrid manage the worst cases for 15-20 years to flush those out of the system who abuse it.

  2. Ben, handing this problem over to the Junta or even central Govt will make no difference. It might even make things worse…

    If you think those at the Junta – which until only a year ago was run by the same man for 25 years and then handed over to a friend Gordon Brown stylie – are any less inclined to “see the job as a licence to line their own pockets” then I’m afraid you are sadly mistaken.

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