Last February’s Decree-Law on urgent measures for sustainability and circular tourism in the Balearic Islands has incorporated new regulations that deserve analysis. Continue reading The Tourism Decree-Law (1): the tourist moratorium
GOB has worked and continues to work on reducing and controlling the impacts caused by the remodelling of the Port of Fornells. It has focussed on various features that in our opinion are very important at an environmental level. Allegations, resources, meetings and opinion notes have been used, but no time has been dedicated to the proposed project of a new building in the urban area because there were already so many people analysing this intervention. Continue reading Fornells and avoidable impacts
On 20 January, the press reported that the Partido Popular will make a request to the Senate that construction works, currently halted, of the Cala Corb dock should be completed. Political discourse as much as journalistic reviews deserve comment.
The work that the Ports Authority tendered was for a solid wharf in the area of Moll d’en Pons going to the tip of Cala Corb, then continuing with a cantilevered wooden walkway (in the same style as the one at Calesfonts). This was decided because it is much deeper at Cala Corb and a solidly built wharf would be much more complicated and causing a greater impact.
However, half way through the works, large quantities of materials were found being dumped in Cala Corb. This activity did not fit in with the proposed works and GOB asked to consult the project tender. On the same day, the Ports Authority halted the works.
This change in the interpretation to the proposed works was decided while the works were in progress, without any previous authorization nor consideration for any environmental impact. It was claimed that this was because the rocks did not support the walkway very well, yet the tender included a specialist’s report on the solidity of this area of rock wall that assured its strength.
Having to decide whether or not to continue with the work or proceed with the intervention, it was decided that an environmental evaluation from the Oceanic Institute would be requested. Scientific dives made in the area where work had begun found significant damage to the marine environment, given that the rocks go round nearly half the cove. It was also documented that nearly all of a protected coral was being eliminated.
Because of these findings, and according to current legislation, it has to be the environmental authority that dictates the procedure to be followed. As the central government (Madrid) has jurisdiction over the Port of Mahon, the case was communicated by the Balearic Port Authority to the Ministry of the Environment. There has not yet been a reply.
So far, this has been a description of the events as they happened. Now it is time to make some assessments.
The question put by the Senator was not interested in knowing how it is possible that work of this type could have been carried out without any previous study on the environmental impact, which would have avoided generating the consequent conflict.
Nor did he want to know how it is possible to change the nature of the work so drastically after it has been tendered, with the result that other companies could offer better conditions for this tender.
The question from the Senate did not query the doubt that the rocks do not support the walkway when there was a previous specialist report guaranteeing the rock wall’s strength.
Nor did the question have any interest in knowing what would be the environmental effects, nor how to resolve the problems caused by a public work that affects a protected species.
The Senator and the leaders of the Partido Popular are only asking to end the work urgently. Nothing else is important. That is a shame.
It is a shame because GOB knows, first hand, there are many people in Menorca whose ideology of conservation means that for some time they have understood the importance of environmental issues and that defending them should not be linked to a particular ideological vision.
Here the leaders of the main conservative party still mean to stop access to the municipal files and then declare procedures to be completed urgently, with the intention of keeping hotels, such as those at Son Bou, without facilitating any reduction of their impact on the landscape.
Or, they make it impossible for files to be seen that show environmental offences such as those that have facilitated seven illegal swimming pools. Or, they place themselves on the wrong side of the Law of the Reserve of the Biosphere.
In GOB we have known for some time that the economy and environmental conservation can go hand in hand. However, to enable this, it is necessary to know how to conduct matters and stop ignoring environmental legislation but truly believe in not continuing to make the same mistakes that allow a few people to make short term profits.
We ask the political leaders to look towards Europe where, for some time, complex environmental issues have been better handled ensuring that performance goals are met.
It has been confirmed that sewers projected for Cala Llonga are not planned to reach any treatment plants. The urban growth approved in recent weeks violates different regulations. GOB will challenge the licences that have been granted. Continue reading Cala Llonga: urban growth without sewage treatment plants
The Alaior Town Council hurriedly made a declaration for regrouping the plots of land for the Son Bou Hotels. They made it despite an unfavourable legal report. Continue reading Son Bou Hotels: urgent action taken despite opposing judicial report
This article, accompanied by a corresponding video, is about the problem of tourist overcrowding that takes place in Menorca. Talks have been given about the saturation of the beaches and other places, aggravated by the presence of vehicles. Continue reading Tourist overcrowding: vehicles and beaches
Dear Mayor and Councillors of Alaior Town Council
The refusal that you have accorded to those wishing to consult the dossiers for the Son Bou Hotels and the illegal swimming pools at the agro tourism hotel of Torre Vella has become very controversial. Recent statements made regarding these hotels require some clarification. Continue reading To the Mayor and Councillors of Alaior Town Council
The Alaior Town Council has granted a licence for the Son Bou Hotels, exactly during the period when they prevented GOB from consulting the file to know what documentation had been presented by the promoters. The criminal proceedings announced are already formalized in court. Within 48 hours all the finance required has been covered. Very many thanks to all the people who have contributed. Continue reading Obscurantism grows regarding the Son Bou Hotels
Just three months ago on 29 July, we entered a global ecological deficit. It was called the Earth Overshoot Day 2021. That means that all the resources that we have consumed in the world since that date cannot be regenerated and we are going into the accumulated natural reserves that are diminishing at an alarming rate. It also refers to the pollution produced that cannot now be absorbed into the biosphere.
That organisation that annually calculates when Overshoot Day is reached has chosen 100 initiatives for the entire world that can help delay the date. The solution that they proposed is one that we promote from GOB: the Land Stewardship Scheme.
Specifically, a study has been done on the ecological footprint from the production of beef in the Land Stewardship Farms. They have taken into account factors such as the type of food given to the cattle – if produced on the same farm or, if imported, the distance covered; if the cows are out to pasture or are in cattle sheds etc; the energy resources consumed by the farms – electricity, fuel- and the use of fertilizers amongst other things.
The result has been that the production of beef on Land Stewardship Scheme farms has an ecological footprint up to 64% less than the national average. This is a really significant difference that comes from two factors.
The first factor is the resources consumed with each type of production and the associated pollution. To produce a kilo of beef from the Land Stewardship Scheme requires 15% less in financial resources than that required by conventionally produced meat. This contradicts the theory that to produce organic meat extensively is more costly than by intensive farming.
The second factor is the Land Stewardship Scheme itself. It is that much of the land for the Land Stewardship Scheme would not be considered by conventional farming as giving optimal production value. Land Stewardship farms take advantage of the mosaic landscape that combines cultivated land with areas of wild vegetation for agricultural production. The livestock eats partly from wild pasture roaming through wooded areas and scrubland. Furthermore, this type of management does not deplete the biodiversity but rather encourages it.
In this way, the consequence is not only the kilo of meat that is produced but also there are additional positive results such as the capture of carbon coming from the vegetation of the managed areas.
As consumers, all of us have the possibility to encourage the type of food that respects the ability of regenerating the World. Bear this in mind when you go shopping.
You can consult the available products of the Land Stewardship Scheme sold direct on https://www.gobmenorca.com/productescustodia. You can learn more about the program by watching the videos listed on our You Tube Channel.
You can see news on the Global Footprint network website.
The calculation of the ecological footprint for the production of beef has been possible thanks to the economic support of the MAVA Foundation within the Foodnected project.
GOB has made three appeals against licences given for new house constructions in Cala Longa. The reason for this is that this nucleus to the north of Mahon has no available system of sewers. Continue reading Cala Llonga: appeals against new houses without sewers