THE Junta has temporarily suspended plans to drill for gas in one of Spain’s most important conservation zones.
In a victory for environmentalists the pipeline plan in the Donana National Park has been halted after the Junta ordered further studies to be undertaken.
The stop comes despite company Gas Natural being given permission by the Junta’s environment ministry to analyse the potential for gas extraction in the wetlands area which borders Cadiz, Huelva and Sevilla.
The project, which would also include the construction of an 18 kilometre-long gas pipe, was due to start this year, despite both the PSOE and the IU party strongly opposing it.
The European Union launched its own investigation into the scheme a week ago.
Meanwhile the World Wildlife Fund has asked that the wetlands area be put on the UNESCO endangered list for fear of development.
A spokesman Juan Jose Carmona said: “While we appreciate it is not in grave danger it could easily and quickly become so.”
The area is not only one of Europe’s key habitats for birds, it is also the main home for Spain’s endangered Iberian Lynx, which number only around 300 animals.