The destruction to the land carried out at Binigarba has to be restored. This week a restitution project should have been presented and it has two months in which to be executed. If not, coercive, monthly fines will be imposed.
The municipal resolution was that material poured in from other excavations must be removed, that the areas affected by the earthworks must be restored as well as the damaged sections of dry stonewalls. The restoration project must also comply with the criteria set down by the Nature Network committee.
At the site of Binigarba, between Ferreries and Ciutadella, an attempt was made to extract sand as if from an industrial quarry. As no corresponding authorisations were obtained, the operation was considered as an improvement of agricultural land.
GOB warned that the project, presented by the Binigarba Rural Society of Menorca SRM in collaboration with the builder and marketer of aggregates, Valeariano Allès Canet SL, was planned to take place over an area of 127,527 square meters with a demolition volume of 444.628 cubic meters (hundreds of thousands of cubic meters). It was explained in the Annual Report that Valeriano Allès would make the investment of conditioning the land in exchange for the available sand usable for construction. In other words, it was the project for a quarry previously denied now presented in another format.
In 2007, a license was granted for an agricultural conditioning project. After some months, GOB advised that the activity taking place was outside the authorised area and that materials from other operations were being poured in. The Directorate General of Industry ordered the suspension of the work warning that it expressly denied the extraction of sand in this place. A disciplinary file for urban planning was opened and the activity was stopped.
Sometime after, the developers submitted a reformulated project and restarted the extractions without waiting for a licence. At that time, Binigarba was already part of the Nature Network 2000, for European protected natural areas. New intervention by GOB stopped the work that lacked legal support.
Finally, the developers did not accept the conditions set by the environmental assessment and the new petition for a licence was denied. Now the obligation for restitution of areas worked on illegally has been agreed.
The time allowed for the restitution has begun. The decision of the Ciutadella Town Council was on 29 March 2023 then there was a month available to present the restitution project to remove material dumped from other excavations, the restitution of earthworks carried out as well as the restoration of the drystone walls affected (that GOB estimates as being 950 metres.)
The Binigarba case has lasted 19 years and has meant constant work for monitoring and verifying repeated violations. Finally, it seems that the game of influences has ended and bringing to a head an environmental conscience has an enormous price.
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