CATALUNYA is taking a leaf out of the French book by creating an institute to buy natural coastal areas to free them from speculating property developers.
The Catalan Coastal Conservatory is the first of its kind in Spain, having a €2 million budget for 2023 to buy and restore natural areas to their former glory.
A similar body has existed in France at national level since 1975.
It aims to prevent situations to the over-development of Malaga or the hotel Algarribico built in Carboneras, Almeria.
The Catalan government is running a public consultation until October to find out if it should be an independent institution, like in France, or part of its Nature Agency created in 2020.
“When you start a project of this type, you have to define a strategy, look at the markets, develop projects. And everything goes slowly at first. It is sensible to start with this amount and then gradually increase it,” Ferran Miralles, head of projects at the Catalan Directorate for Mountain and Coastal Policies told El Pais.
But SOS Costa Brava, that has run campaigns at Catalan beaches, believes it is too little.
“In proportion we should dedicate €4.5 million, but we propose to use half of what is collected by the tourist tax on the coast, which is about €11 million,” Irene Gisbert of SOS Brava spokesperson said.
In contrast, the French national Coastal Conservation Institute has a €50 million budget.
It has acquired 200,000 hectares so far, over 13% of the French coastline.
Like in France, the Catalan body will seek to protect coastal areas from climate change causing development while preserving their social and natural value.
Its organising committee will be made up of lawyers, environmentalists, biologists and philosophers.
As part of the El Pais report, reporters questioned other regional governments about creating such a body.
The Valencian and Balearic authorities said they did not have jurisdiction over the coasts while Murcia did not consider it necessary.
Andalusian government officials did not respond to the newspaper’s questions.
From the Olive Press we salute this new institution in line with our ‘Hands Off our Coasts’ campaign.
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