News Archive from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week May 23rd to May 29th
Málaga-Marbella section the most dangerous in the province
By David Eade
THE N-340 ROAD BETWEEN MÁLAGA CITY AND MARBELLA ACCOUNTS FOR MORE DEATHS THAN ANY OTHER SECTION OF ROAD IN THE PROVINCE OF MÁLAGA.
Between 1989 and 2001, road deaths in Málaga Province have almost halved from 228 to 117, but mortality figures for the first four months of this year are showing a worrying increase.
Last year, Málaga urban roads and ring road accounted for 21 deaths; Marbella counted 21 fatalities. The N-340 between the two towns recorded another nine deaths with Torremolinos (4), Benalmádena (3) and Fuengirola (2). Estepona reported nine road deaths and Manilva two. The area from Málaga to Manilva totalled 62 of the province's 117 road deaths.
CHOOSE THE SAFEST DAYS
The safest days to drive are on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sunday
is the most dangerous with road deaths double that of the mid-week
period. Saturday is also a high risk day. Most road deaths occur
between 16.00 and 24.00 (38.7 per cent), followed by 00.00 and 08.00
(33.8 per cent) and 08.00 and 16.00 (27.4 per cent).
Men account for 85 per cent of road death victims. The highest risk group is aged between 18 and 35 years (47 per cent) whilst the safest drivers are over 51 (16.5 per cent).
Foreigners account for 11 per cent of all fatalities in Málaga Province. In 2001 and the first four months of this year, six Britons, two French and two Moroccans have died plus citizens of seven other nationalities.
IRISH TOURIST KILLED IN CRASH
There were two death crashes on the N-340 this weekend. At 05.00 on Sunday morning there was an accident on km 216 at Fuengirola. A German registered Ford Transit van, driven by an Armenian in the wrong direction, collided head on with a taxi from Manilva carrying four Irish tourists. A 52-year-old Irish woman, initials P.H., was killed and the three other passengers plus the taxi driver were taken to hospital with serious injuries. The Guardia Civil have arrested the Armenian driver who failed a breath test.
Later the same day, another death crash occurred on the N-340 at Manilva. In this instance a car was involved in a head-on collision with a lorry.
GREAT INSURANCE RIP-OFF
False claims boost premiums and crime figures
By Danny Collins and Tom Cain
GUARDIA CIVIL AND NATIONAL POLICE HAVE SET UP SPECIAL UNITS TO INVESTIGATE FALSE INSURANCE CLAIMS BY EXPATS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE COSTA'S BURGEONING CRIME RATE.
With the summer season approaching, police are steeling themselves for an avalanche of complaints from foreign residents and holidaymakers claiming they have been burgled or robbed - yet many of these complaints are false and waste valuable police time and resources.
Police now claim that around 30 per cent of reported burglaries and thefts are fraudulent, with many reports of non-existent robberies being made to support large insurance claims.
Guardia Civil and National Police are increasingly under fire from residents because of the rising crime rate, yet they claim to have evidence that many unscrupulous foreign residents file false complaints, which push up the unsolved crime rates and exaggerate the climate of insecurity on the Costa.
One officer said that police will never have a true picture of crime on the Costas until greedy individuals stop trying to rip off their insurers. This has led to insurance companies being swindled out of hundreds of thousands of pounds and premiums being hiked to cover the losses.
A chief police investigator said: "What baffles us is why anybody on a two-week package holiday would bring jewellery worth thousands of pounds and take it to the beach. We now view with equal suspicion those who claim to have been robbed of thousands of pounds in cash while walking around a market - and we note how no one ever loses a cheap camera; it's always a top-range Nikon. The new investigation units will look into all burglaries and robberies where victims claim to have lost exorbitant amounts of cash or belongings. Where we find evidence of fraud, we will severely prosecute those concerned."
POLICYHOLDERS LOSE OUT
The situation now means that many insurers are refusing genuine claims, leaving honest policyholders out of pocket. An Austrian resident is already facing charges of fraud after reporting the loss of 180,000 euros in a non-existent 'burglary' at her home.
The fact that many people fall victim to robbers is still of major concern to the authorities, who have vowed that all genuine cases will be dealt with efficiently. But they have served an ominous warning on any person who knowingly tries to file a false claim in the future.
MORE BUILDINGS, PLEASE
Regional government condemns rezoning of land for building purposes.
ATTEMPTS BY THE MUNICIPALITIES OF THE COSTA DEL SOL TO RECLASSIFY LAND FOR PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT HAVE BEEN CONDEMNED BY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT.
Both the President of the Provincial Commission of Town Planning, Luciano Alonso, and the delegate of Public Works, Enrique Salvo, spoke out against the practice at a recent meeting of the commission.
They made the point that the commission was now inundated with requests from local authorities to change the use of land in favour of construction projects. Of the 32 proposals recently placed before the planning body, six were rejected or received an unfavourable response. Sr Salvo said it was no coincidence that Málaga Province was experiencing more growth in construction than anywhere else in Spain.
In the recent planning consent session, the commission turned down a planning application from Rincón de la Victoria to build 1,530 homes near the Añoreta golf course. Also rejected was a project to transform a zone of Estepona's Parque Central into a social housing complex. Out too went Manilva's proposal to grant permission for 3,720 new homes, when the population of the municipality is officially only 5,700 people.
The commission stated that the reclassification of land for urban use was habitual in Málaga City, Estepona, Rincón de la Victoria and Torremolinos. It also stressed that it would look with disfavour on any plans to reclassify land in municipalities where the stocks of building land had not yet been exhausted.
GROUP WARNS ON NATURAL PARK WALKS
Environmental threat alleged as hundreds climb Axarquía's highest peak
By David Jamieson
AN ECOLOGICAL GROUP HAS SEVERELY CRITICISED THE PRACTICE OF TAKING GUIDED TOURS INTO THE NATURAL PARK OF THE SIERRAS TEJEDA, ALMIJARA AND ALHAMA.
complaint, by Ecologists in Action, GENA, to the Environment Department
of Málaga Province, came immediately ahead of last Sunday's
organised walk to the Axarquía's highest peak, which attracted
of hundreds of nature lovers.
The summit of La Maroma, 2,065 metres above sea level, was the target in the third annual ascent, led by forest guides. The route followed, from Canillas de Aceituno, is not difficult, but long, with the round trip taking six hours. However, walkers were rewarded with spectacular views over almost the entire province of Málaga.
The ecologists stressed their understanding of the enjoyment that can be gained from the countryside and also how such activities can boost local economies, but pointed out that ecosystems have a "limited capacity to support the impact of human activity". They have proposed that the park be zoned, with no excursions prohibited in zones of high protection, and parties, always with a guide, limited to 25 participants elsewhere.
GENA has also this week warned of the environmental consequences of allowing the bed of the River Chillar in Nerja to be used as a dump. The river is an important water course for the rain waters of the sierra Almijara, but lack of control and vigilance has led to uncontrolled dumping of household goods, as well as waste which carries health risks.
PM ADMITS IMMIGRATION FIASCO
By James Parkes
Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has expressed government concern that current immigration policies in Spain and Europe have boosted sympathy towards nationalist groups.
As current President of the EU, Sr Aznar said the situation in France is a clear warning to all member states that slack immigration policies and increasing unemployment have sown the seeds of discontent among citizens who now see mass immigration as a threat.
PM admitted: "We must accept that illegal immigration generates
a feeling of insecurity among our citizens - even if it seems politically
incorrect to say so." Sr Aznar's criticism was aimed directly
at the PSOE Socialist party which he says 'demands equal rights
for legal and illegal immigrants and then complains of citizens'
After linking immigration to the growing concerns in Spain, Sr Aznar said his Cabinet is now studying further amendments to tighten the immigration laws affecting non-EU citizens.
NEW RAIL PLANS LAID ON THE LINE
for converting the Málaga to Fuengirola rail service from
a single to a double line have been made available to the public
for their comments. Open for examination are plans for one of the
three sections covering an area of 18.8 kilometres between Campamento
Benítez and Fuengirola. This will have a double track laid
over 8.4 kilometres at a cost of 38.35 million euros.
The project to lay a double track over all three sections will cost more than 96 million euros. Once completed it will cut travel times by almost a half and will offer a greatly improved service allowing trains to run at a greater frequency. If all goes to plan, the project covering the three sections should be completed and fully operational by 2005.
MARBELLA ACTS AGAINST JET SKI HIRERS
By David Eade
Following the issuing of a State Decree regulating the use of jet skis off Spain's beaches, Marbella Town Hall has reduced by 65 per cent its allocation of jet ski operator's licences. The municipality decided to act after a young man was killed last year in a jet ski accident off San Pedro de Alcántara. In 2001, the town's civil defence corps also attended 51 jet ski related accidents.
Marbella has 26 kilometres of coastline under its control, which it divides into 26 different zones. Now only nine of these zones will be allowed to hire jet skis but the remaining 17 zones will be allowed to hire other forms of embarkation such as paddle boats or canoes.
Those companies wishing to operate jet ski hire businesses will have to comply with stringent new requirements laid down by the Ministry of Public Works. Given the numerous provisions that have to be met it is not clear whether these companies would be granted a licence in time for the summer season.
Marbella Town Hall has ruled that only 15 jet skis can operate in each zone limiting the total number along the 26 kilometres of coastline to just 135 jet skis. The State Decree of March of this year also insists that all machines be less than 54.5 horsepower. Marbella's Co-ordinator of Beaches, Jorge Bergasa, says all the jet skis available for hire last year were over 70 horsepower and these would have to be replaced.