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When the announcement was made that environmental objections against the proposed revised plans to build on Cala Mosca on the Orihuela Costa was made, there was concern that after years of fighting for its status as the last green area of coastline in Orihuela, interest may have been waning. However, that was clearly not the case, as even more people have now joined the campaign and want to have their say about protecting the unique environment.

In a statement this week, the C.L.A.R.O. political group, who have been leading the fight for many years, stated that in a two week period they had received over 1,800 signatures.”This is a remarkable achievement considering that many of the activists who would normally help collect signatures were away on holiday”, read the statement, announcing that their formal objections had been handed in to the Orihuela town hall on the 12th of August, to be forwarded to the regional government of Valencia.

According to C.L.A.R.O., the Petition objections relate principally to the fact that the developer will not reduce the volume of building proposed, with plans to construct 1,500 new flats and houses, putting two endangered species which live at Cala Mosca at risk. “Instead of building houses where the two species are at present concentrated, the developer’s plans propose, nonsensically, to locate in these areas, gardens, play areas and car parks which will mean the two species would be exposed to the maximum physical public presence and therefore danger”.

In addition, an environmental protection group has also now got behind the campaign, Ecologistes en Acció, claiming that the site is “the only ground of the town shoreline that is not urbanized and has great environmental and landscape values”.

In particular, the ecology group claim that “there is an erroneous assessment of the impacts of the development project on populations of threatened flora and fauna”, the plant known as Heliantemum caput-felis and the snail called mauretanica Tudorella, and have stated that “the population of Heliantemum is one of the best preserved and largest number of specimens, together with those in the micro reserve at La Glea.

They also confirm the findings of the C.L.A.R.O. group, stating that the plan to design parks and recreation areas around the location of the endangered species would be “insufficient or contradictory” in securing the preservation of the environmental elements.

The location of pedestrian paths, recreational areas or coastal lookouts has also been called into question, as, according to the environmentalists, they would be on land “that is home to these two protected species and will affect their habitats.

The ecologists have also identified another potentially crucial flaw in the plans, that of a pathway for use by livestock which crosses the site parallel to the coast, a road which is protected by historic laws and “legally cannot be integrated into the surface of the sector”, although the Environmental Impact Study presented by the plan “ignores the existence of the cattle route”.

The eco group therefore consider that the plans would fall foul of the law, based on the points raised, and therefore must be considered as unacceptable on the basis of environmental protection, and must be modified for compliance with the “legal regulations in force”, and building still blocked until “these deficiencies are overcome”.

It is still worth remembering that, as C.L.A.R.O. explain, in the face of these objections and similar objections which are believed to have been lodged with the Valencia authorities by the local government of Orihuela, there is good reason to hope that the developer will be obliged to amend his plans and reduce and relocate projected buildings in order to afford more environmental protection to Cala Mosca. The fact that the fate of Cala Mosca has been placed on the agenda of the European Parliament as a result of previous C.L.A.R.O. initiatives, means that the Valencian authorities will have to be very careful not to approve plans which could violate European environmental legislation.

Meanwhile, should the objections be ignored and the plans approved, it is still not the end of the story, as the next stage would look at elements of urban planning and location, all of which can still be objected to, if the project does ever get that far.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44614/

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