Greenpeace calls for coastal ‘protection at all costs’

Presentation of 'Proteccion a toda costa' report in Malaga harbour Monday. Photo: Greenpeace / Europa Press
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• NGO says 53 Spanish coastline areas under threat from renewed construction
• Coastal construction across Spain up 57% since 1993, 150% in some areas

Greenpeace España released a report Monday cautioning of the risk of overbuilding in 53 imperiled coastal areas if steps are not taken to ensure against the kind of excesses that have occurred in the past, when private individuals and contractors were allowed to build in areas within Spain’s protected coastal strip, known as the Maritime-Terrestrial Public Domain (Dominio Público Marítimo-Terrestre, or DPMT).

In Malaga port Monday to present the report Protección a toda costa: Un tesoro que no debemos perder (“Protection at all costs: A Treasure we should not lose”) aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, researchers for the non-governmental environmental campaigning organisation said analysis of  satellite imagery have allowed them to identify areas that already have been overbuilt as well as an additional 53 areas of the Spanish coastline now under renewed threat from construction.

High on the list of potentially impacted areas are Murcia’s Aguilas coast and the Cabo de Cope, the coastline in the Ebro Delta in Tarragona, the coastal areas of Barreiros in Lugo, Cap de Creus en Girona and the Torre del Mar en Velez-Malaga. Also at risk of overbuilding unless protective measures are taken, says Greenpeace, are the eastern coast of Fuerteventura and the north Coast of Gran Canaria island, as well as Formentera in the Balearics and Finisterre in Galicia.

The type of overbuilding that occurred on Spain’s coastline during the construction boom of 2000-08 could see a return under the relaxation of coast protection measures in the Ley de Costas amended in 2013 by the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP) majority in Congress, the organisation says. The PP’s 2013 modification of the law governing Spain’s coastal areas rolled back the extension of the DMPT protected strip from 100 metres to just 20 metres inland from the high-tide mark and also granted amnesty to constructions previously built too close to the sea in violation of Spanish law.

According to Greenpeace, construction along Spain’s coastline has grown 57 percent on average over the last 24 years, with some areas much more highly impacted by urbanization, including the coastline of Castellon province in Valencia, which saw a 148 percent increase in construction since 1993; the coastline of Granada, with a 146 percent increase during the same period; and Valencia, Cadiz and Almeria provinces, which each saw increased of 118, 111 and 107 percent, respectively, in urban construction within their coastal zones.

► Read More in Spanish at El País, Europa Press and 20minutos …

► Download Greenpeace report ‘Protección a toda costa’, here …

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