Balearic Islands approves a decree law that protects 15% of the rustic land of Mallorca



The Executive that presides over the socialist Francina Armengol approved on Monday the decree law 9/2020 of urgent measures to protect the territory in the Balearic Islands, which among other measures contemplates the preservation of some 51,700 hectares of rustic land in Mallorca, which represents 15% of the total of these lands on the largest island of the Archipelago. The new standard has been drawn up by the Ministry of the Environment, which is headed by the MÉS per Mallorca eco-sovereignist Miquel Mir.

The aforementioned preservation of rustic land in Mallorca will be possible because the decree prohibits the construction of new single-family homes on land included in Risk Prevention AreasThat is, in areas at risk of flooding, fire, erosion or detachment. This measure is justified, according to the Govern, in "the need to adapt the territory to the current climate emergency and more taking into account the latest extreme episodes that the Community has suffered and which, according to the broad consensus of the scientific community, are to become more and more habitual ».

It should be recalled, in this sense, the floods suffered by the Majorcan municipality of Sant Llorenç des Cardassar and several nearby towns on October 9, 2018, which left a tragic balance of 13 fatalities. The event occurred shortly after the torrent that runs through Sant Llorenç overflowed in the late afternoon of that day, due to the very heavy rains that fell non-stop for several hours in the town.

At a more global level, the main objective of the new decree law is "to establish measures for the protection and conservation of the environmental, landscape and urban values ​​of the territory of the Balearic Islands, aimed at containing the growth of the new urbanization and reinforcing the protection of the rustic land, in order to ensure the rehabilitation and recovery of this heritage ».

Limited moratorium

The draft law decree initially provided, among other measures, to establish an urban moratorium until December 31, 2021 to limit the construction of houses on rustic land on the four islands. That measure, as such, has not been finally included in the text approved now in an extraordinary Governing Council, since there were internal divergences in the Govern on what should be the ultimate scope of this possible moratorium. In fact, the initial lack of consensus on that specific point between the three parties of the Armengol Executive, the PSOE, Unidas Podemos and MÉS per Mallorca, delayed for a few days the drafting and approval of the final text.

Finally, the decree now approved establishes a moratorium on urbanization authorizations and licenses only for soils classified as urban or developable in which there has been no action in recent decades. It is estimated that today, in the Balearic Islands as a whole, some 600 hectares in total would be in this situation. The aforementioned limited moratorium will start next June and will last until December 31, 2021. In that period of time, the island councils of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, as well as the Palma City Council, must review their proposals urban planning currently in force to study the possible reclassification of urban or developable land, either to convert it to rustic land or to maintain its current condition.

In the event that, once the date of December 31, 2021 has been exceeded, the island councils or the Palma City Council have not approved the updating of their respective urban planning, the Government will assume this task by subrogation. From then on, the Balearic Executive will have one year to carry out this work, until December 31, 2022, a period of time in which the moratorium will be maintained in the granting of authorizations and urbanization licenses.

Since the opposition to the Armengol tripartite, the new decree law has already been criticized by the PP, Vox and Cs, who essentially agree in denouncing that it will generate legal insecurity, harm smallholders and farmers, and negatively affect the economy. The next procedure that the decree law must follow now is its debate in parliamentary headquarters within a maximum period of 30 days and its subsequent validation in the Balearic Chamber.


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