By Eloise Horsfield

A NEW decree aims to protect Andalucia’s coastline by preventing anyone building on the first 500m of land.

Under the coastal protection plan, launched this week, no new construction projects can be launched and all existing plans will need to go through rigorous tests to prove they are environmentally viable.

The decree will affect 52 town halls stretching over a thousand kilometres of coastline.

The aim is to halt construction of all projects that were planned during the property boom of the 80s and 90s, but are not compatible with today’s regulations.

The protection plan was created in response to the fact that only 10 of Andalucia’s 62 coastal town halls have responded to the POTA spatial planning plan introduced in 2005.

The Axarquia is one of the areas thought to be the most affected, with Torrox in particular having 5,000 houses in the pipeline as well as a golf course planned for Calaceite.

Meanwhile neighbouring Rincon de la Victoria wanted to build 2,000 new homes – all within 500m of the sea – and Nerja had 1,000 in store for the El Playazo area.

Agriculture, Fishing and Environment councillor Luis Planas was keen to point out the plan was in keeping with previous legislation and that some plans – if compatible with Junta’s regulations – will still go ahead.

“Protecting and preserving the coast does not mean stamping out every new development,” he said.

He added that the plan has been created in order to guarantee ‘an orderly and sustainable development’ of the Andalucian coastline.

He said the measure was ‘a very important step’ in achieving of one of Junta’s key objectives, which he described as ‘the preservation of our ecosystems and the natural wealth of the coastline’.

While the paperwork will take two years to be finalised, the decree could come into effect within two months, with town halls across Andalucia now focussing on working out what this decree will mean for them.


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