With summer well and truly here and everyone heading to the beach, where better to turn our ‘sustainable’ eye than to one of the last unspoilt coastlines in Spain. El Palmar, on the Costa de la Luz, has so far avoided the overdevelopment that we’ve seen on other parts of Spain’s 1,000km of coastline, and many people would like to keep it that way, as a last reminder of what natural coastlines looked like. Unfortunately, the area does not have nature reserve protection, and other vested interests want to see a new macro development built, changing forever what makes this part of the coast special.
El Palmar has been my personal favourite place to visit for the past 10 years, and its charm lies, for me and many others, in the low rise, relatively small scale village that exists mostly only during two months of summer. The rest of the year, its wide, white sand beaches are home to surfers and nature. With the arrival of a huge ‘aparthotel’ complex like we have on the costa del sol it would be like dropping downtown Tokyo into a Somerset field. The infrastructure simply isn’t there to support it, and the rapidly growing campaign to fight it shows that neither do thousands of other people. Putting their money where their mouth is, local activists have also started proceedings to buy some of the land where the proposed development will be, much like Greenpeace and other collectives did to prevent the third runway at Heathrow being built.
Lola Yllescas, the Ecologistas en Acción’s Andalucian spokesperson pointed out that although they had 63,000 signatures for a petition to stop the project, they didn’t have enough resources to buy the land yet, so they are reaching out to all the other conservation groups like Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth to help make it happen. The land in question, Malcucaña, was managed by toxic bank Bankia, and the activists hope that with the bank in liquidation, the value will have plummeted, making the scheme to buy it viable and getting in there before the promoter, Grupo Tarje, who owns the other half of the land, can make their bid. If you’d like to get involved the web site is www.salvarelpalmar.es
This post is also available in: Spanish