News Archive from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week February 14 to February 20
REGIONAL GOVERNMENT BLOCKS NEW WIND PARK
Priority is given to protecting endangered birds
By David Eade
THE ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT OF REGIONAL GOVERNMENT HAS DECIDED NOT TO PASS AN APPLICATION TO BUILD MÁLAGA'S THIRD WIND PARK.
The authorities are currently considering 75 applications to construct electricity-generating plants within the province. However, the government's technicians have ruled that the proposed wind generator park in the Los Limoneros mountains of Cañete La Real is not viable on environmental grounds.
The government's experts have concluded that the wind park's eight giant wind generators would endanger the lives of royal eagles, goshawks, sparrow hawks, storks, royal hawks, owls, peregrine falcons, kestrels and hobby hawks. These birds are protected, having been declared of 'Special Interest' by the authorities.
The location of the wind park at Cañete La Real would also endanger birds that flew through the area en route to the provinces of Cádiz and southern Sevilla. In addition, the site of the wind park is home to a plant that is one of the rarest in the world yet is found in Málaga. The 'Cytisus malacitanus' is in danger of extinction and the company that would build the generating plant could not guarantee that the works would not affect these plants.
FINANCIAL HELP WITHDRAWN
Meanwhile Spain's National Energy Commission (CNE) has decided against giving any future financial help to the ecological power-generating sector. Last month, Wind Ibérica announced that wind generator V66 had produced 11.2 million kilowatts in 2001. This was acclaimed as a record for Spain. Some experts doubted the figures given its potential and the recorded hours of wind. Now it appears that the company issued false data. According to Sevilllana-Endesa the generator produced just over 7 million kilowatts.
POOR WATER TREATMENT ALERT
Central government promises purifying plants for 2006
By David Eade
IN SPITE OF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT'S PROMISES, THE COSTA DEL SOL'S LACK OF WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANTS IS ONCE MORE A MATTER OF CONCERN AS TOWNS STRUGGLE TO COPE WITH DEFICIENT FACILITIES.
In 1993 the sanitation of the Costa was declared to be of public interest by the central government in Madrid. Today, nine years on, many municipalities are still waiting for adequate water treatment plants to be installed. The treatment plant at Arroyo de la Miel is currently being improved and central government has set aside 6,530 million euros in this year's budget for sanitation projects on the Costa del Sol.
The central government's objective is that by 2006 all municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants will have their own waste water treatment plant. However, in the interim period the Costa has to cope with a lack of treatment plants, facilities that are deficient or are simply overloaded due to the dramatic increase in population levels.
SUFFERING SEA LIFE
The Superior Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC) last year carried out tests on the maritime sediments in the seas off Estepona, Puerto Banús and Marbella. The studies revealed a very high level of detergents. After further research the CSIC is convinced that these detergent residues are having an effect on the reproductive cycle of marine species.
Speaking on behalf of the Institute of Sea Studies, Juan Jesús Mártin said that for the past 20 years members of that body had been warning of the progressive deterioration of the biodiversity of the sea of Alborán. The sea of Alborán is the part of the Mediterranean that fronts much of the Costa del Sol.
Jesús Martín explained that one of the effects of the waste pouring into the sea was that it made the waters cloudy which in turn made it difficult for sunlight to penetrate. This caused marine vegetation to diminish thus affective sea life.
The high levels of detergents have been blamed by the experts on the poor water treatment facilities on the Costa. They point to the fact that every day a floating population of 500,000 people in Málaga Province, the majority of whom live along the coastline, flush their waste water directly into the rivers and the sea. This action both damages the environment and also creates a poor image for the tourism industry.
EUROPEAN POLICE FORCES MEET IN MARBELLA
Judicial authorities and senior police officers fom the 15 EU countries plus Hungary and Lithuania have met in Marbella. The purpose of their conference was to discuss organised crime and also to look at harmonising the European legislation on money laundering. The meeting was addressed by Gonzalo Robles, Spain's Government Delegate on the National Plan on Drugs.
Spain was hosting the meeting in its role as EU President. One of the main aims is the fight against organised crime. A statement issued by Spain's Ministry of the Interior stated that EU members "are conscious of the importance of the impact of money laundering and the risk that this criminal activity poses for the achievement of liberty, security and justice proclaimed in the Treaty of Amsterdam".
PARKING CRISIS IN MÁLAGA
City divided by differing opinions on a solution
By Dave Jamieson
SHOPKEEPERS IN THE CENTRE OF MÁLAGA HAVE AGAIN COMPLAINED ABOUT THE LACK OF CAR PARKING.
A forum in the city last week brought together some of the principle players in the redevelopment of the historic heart of the capital, and produced clearly divided opinions.
The president of shopkeepers association, José María Rubio, pointed out that a commercial centre of 80 shops should have car parking for 1,500 vehicles, however Málaga centre had over 3,000 shops and definitely not the corresponding number of parking places. Mayor Francisco de la Torre countered the problem by suggesting that a central car park for 20,000 would simply result in congestion in surrounding streets, while the Town Hall maintains its policy for the use of peripheral parking and public transport into the city centre.
The architect appointed to remodel Calle Larios, which will eliminate 50 car and 300 moto parking spaces, Iñaki Pérez de la Fuente, prefers high-rotation short-stay parking, a policy supported by Mayor de la Torre, who favours a maximum stay of 30 minutes for 50 pesetas. Speaking for local residents who have seen increasing pedestrianisation erode parking spaces, Félix Naranjo said that inability to park simply aggravates other problems which already exist.
POLICE CAUSE BORDER CHAOS
Frontier queues at the land border between Spain and Gibraltar have again worsened. The major problem seemed to be leaving the Rock rather than gaining access. At certain times of the day the queue of cars stretched back across Gibraltar's Airport runway. During the late afternoon 'rush hour period' there was a two-hour wait to get into Spain. In the 'off-peak' period at 22.00 people were still taking an hour to make the crossing.
The Spanish National Police union has been threatening a work to rule as part of industrial action due to rows over under-staffing and low pay. The period of action is due to run from February 18 to March 3. However, the delays might also be linked to Gibraltar's refusal to participate in the current rounds of Anglo-Spanish Brussels Process talks on the future sovereignty of the Rock.
NINE MORE FOR THE CLUB
Following the news last week that Frigiliana had applied for membership of the Association of Municipalities of the Costa del Sol in the Axarquía, nine more inland towns have expressed interest in joining. Since its inception, the Association has not expanded its original five member composition - Vélez, Rincón, Algarrobo, Nerja and Torrox. Towns applying now include Cómpeta, El Borge, Almáchar, Benamargosa, Canillas, La Viñuela, Sayalonga, Moclinejo and Benamocarra.