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The snail Tudorella mauretanica which suffers from a threat of extinction

There are two ‘green mayors’ in local Spanish politics, in the town of Villena to the north of Alicante, led by Javier Esquembre Menor, and in the city of Orihuela, where, if the censure motion recently filed by the PP is upheld, incumbent, 56 year old former music teacher Monserrate Guillen, could soon be removed from office. Both are ardent ecologists and both say they are totally are committed to environmental sustainability.

Whilst many would say that Gullen pays little more than ‘lip service’ to the Orihuela Costa, one coastal petition that he does pursue with some passion is the ongoing battle to protect the very last mile of pristine coastline at Cala Mosca.

Guillen and his coalition government, with PSPV-PSOE, continue to put forward environmental arguments that will slow down or even halt the development plan at Cala Mosca, a project approved by the previous PP government, which will see the construction of 1,700 homes.

Of the 12 PP councilors in the capital of La Vega Baja, where such crimes are said to be almost endemic, 5 are currently facing accusations or charges of corruption, so the defense of that last mile of unspoiled beach has now become symbolic, especially when, of the 40,000 properties currently standing on the Orihuela Costa there are said to be up to 10,000 that have no certificate of occupancy. Former councilor Antonia Morena said it was hardly surprising as for many years there was little thought given to planning, from private pools to public roads, everything was so haphazard.

The development project was approved by an absolute majority amongst the PP in 2007. The mayor at the time was Monica Lorente, who is now in opposition, and is currently awaiting corruption proceedings in two cases with the ongoing possibility of a third.

Cala Mosca waters are within a maritime protection zone which accommodates one particular genus of flowering plants Posidonia, seagrass, found only in the seas of the Mediterranean. On land there are two other uncommon species, the snail Tudorella mauretanica which suffers from a threat of extinction and the plant, la jarilla de cabeza de gato, a bright yellow flower that is found only in some parts of the Peninsula, the Baleares, Sardinia and the Maghreb region of North Africa.

During a recent visit to the area by an MEP from the European Union, the City Council and the Ministry of Environment were told that that an environmental impact report needs to be carried out on Cala Mosca, and where endangered species are found, however insignificant they may seem, the Spanish authorities who must enforce the environmental community law which outlines the development of enforcement structures and best practices.

"But there are many other interests to weigh," Guillen lamented. “The impact on the local environment would be disastrous and no amount of money or of power should override that.”

However the words of the mayor contrast with those of lawyer Juan Enrique Serrano, who represents the Madrid based company, Grupo Inmobiliario Gomendio in Cala Mosca. "I understand that there is no conflict”, says Serrano, “we identified 5,000 plants and protected species and we have agreed to create a micro-reserve.” He draws on the examples in Marbella, Mijas, Fuengirola, Benicàssim and Torremolinos where there are buildings on at least 90% of the first 500 meters of coastline.

Indeed the company, who refer to themselves as ‘Creators Of Unique Environments’ is already advertising the sale of the Cala Mosca properties on their website. One of three developments, the 2 bed apartments ‘El Bosque’ costing between 105,000 and 140,000 euro, are said to be available during the last quarter of 2014.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42538/

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