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Whilst political disagreements and legal arguments continue in Orihuela, the battle to protect what´s left of the natural landscape of the coastline continues, with the case for protecting Cala Mosca being heard once again before the European Parliament.

Long fighting representative of the coastal zone, Bob Houliston of the C.L.A.R.O. political group, was accompanied by the Mayor of Orihuela, Monseratte Guillén of the Los Verdes, who became a popular ambassador for environmental matters when he launched a previous campaign to save natural land in Torremendo, appeared in front of the European Parliament Committee on Petitions on Tuesday, requesting that an environmental impact statement be prepared on behalf of the proposed construction work at Cala Mosca, where the natural land had been disposed of by the previous Partido Popular government, in order to build houses in the area where a number of endangered species of plants and animals live.

In a statement released by C.L.A.R.O. following the meeting in Brussels, Bob Houliston explained that the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament decided at a meeting on 1 April, to maintain support for the Petition submitted by C.L.A.R.O. in 2010 to save Cala Mosca, the last remaining green area on Orihuela Costa, from the destructive effects of the planned construction of over 1,500 new houses.

This was the last meeting of the Petitions Committee before the European Parliament elections next month, after which a new committee will be formed. It was very important that the outgoing committee should declare that Cala Mosca remain on the agenda of the new committee. To achieve this end, not only did Bob Houliston, President of C.L.A.R.O., attend the meeting in person but so too did the Mayor of Orihuela, Montserrate Guillen and Carolina Gracia (Socialist Party) member of the government. Bob Houliston told the Committee that their presence together showed the broad, bipartisan support for preserving Cala Mosca as a natural area which would be of great environmental value and would be appreciated by residents and tourists alike.

At the meeting, the Mayor of Orihuela described his government’s policy of ensuring the protection of Cala Mosca not only as a green space but also to safeguard two endangered species, a flower and a snail, which are found on Cala Mosca and which are protected under European Union environmental legislation. The representative of the European Commission said at the meeting that the Spanish authorities had been obliged to recognise that European environment legislation applied in the case of Cala Mosca and the Spanish authorities could not maintain that the building project approved was covered by a planning law which dated before Spain became a member of the European Union. As a result, the planned building project would require an Environmental Impact Declaration and the two endangered species would have to be protected. Bob Houliston said that thanks to the European Commission a public consultation over the project had taken place last April and over 1,000 citizens had expressed their concern to safeguard Cala Mosca. However, the all important Environmental Impact Declaration had not yet been produced.

Several parliamentarians spoke in the debate. All supported the aim of the Petition signed by 7,000 citizens. Thanks to their interventions and the presence of the delegation from Orihuela, the President of the Petitions Committee concluded that she would ensure that Cala Mosca should be on the agenda of the new Petitions Committee. The future of Cala Mosca required continued vigilance.

Albeit no more protected now than it has been through the efforts of those involved, this is a huge step in the future protection of Cala Mosca, the only remaining natural area on a coastline which has become a beacon of construction over natural protection, a matter which has not only seen a lack of environmental protection being awarded to the endemic flora and fauna, but a situation which also affects many of those properties who suffer natural incursions such as flooding, after the neglect of the environmental impact was seldom considered over that of commercial gain.

Not only that, is shows once more how the political groups can come together for a single positive goal, as a campaigner to protect the area, Bob Houliston has faced many a personal battle over recent years, but by him firstly allowing the Mayor to speak in a session he had arranged, and then the inclusion of the socialists offering their support, it shows the bipartite government team of the Los Verdes and PSOE are able to work together, and that the singular voice of a smaller, though dedicated group such as C.L.A.R.O., can also have a huge impact on supporting the areas which they are elected to represent.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43214/

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