Spain builds 1/3 of all homes in the EU.
Almost one third of all homes built in the EU, in the course of last last year, were built in Spain and according to a survey carried out by 19 different Independent European Institutes of Euroconstruct, this tendency will continue until 2007.
Greenpeace accuses Spain of building illegal properties on the costas.
The environment protection organisation warns that bad management and the deterioration of the costas are now affecting the environment.
Greenpeace points to as many as 44,900 illegal properties built on littoral Spain in the course of last year, that combined with the lack of responsible local government management and the worsening of the situation on the coasts are producing a serious deterioration to the environment.
According to data collected by Greenpeace, coastal authorities last year granted building permission for 768,000 new homes, 58 new golf courses, 77 new ports or development of existing ones and more than 60 artificial created beaches.
The report warns about the deterioration suffered by the coastal and marine environment due to the increased activity. The substantial overcrowding, contamination and the new ports infrastructure are the main culprits for the destruction of natural space and coastal erosion.
The report underlines the lack of solutions to the problem on the part of the local authorities and institutions who are more concerned about the short term benefits than the benefits of future generations.
The report further advises that one of the main problems is caused by the urbanization of areas, in fact between 1990 and 2000 the Spanish population increased by 5% whereas urbanization increased by 25.4%.
This phenomenon now extends to the remotest coastal corners: Murcia, Almería, Cádiz, Huelva and Cantabria, where land is cheaper. The report refers to the fact that 34% of the first Mediterranean kilometre is urbanized, this increases to 59% in certain points of the Andalucian coast.
The worst offenders are reported to be the Valencia Community, where the European Commission is already investigating local authorities being accused of favouritism and corruption and breech of public contracts. As far as Local Councils are concerned, Marbella is particularly mentioned for its 20,000 illegal homes and 370 urbanization licenses opposed by the Junta de Andalucia.
The other revelation in the report is that the Spanish coasts no longer hold the tourist monopoly and that between 2002 and 2004 there were five million less summer holiday makers than in previous years. The truth of the crisis is that the estimate necessary in 2004 to maintain the tourist infrastructure (airports, ports, hotels, beaches) exceeded the income from tourism by 25%.
Finally, the other anomaly is the growth of homes associated with golf courses. This way the golfing tourist who stays in a hotel is obliged to spend six times more than non golfers. According to current forecasts it is estimated that the 300 golf courses will exceed 500 within the next ten years.
Greenpeace maintains that the building works and behaviour taking place on the coasts is based on financial benefits completely overlooking the recovery of the coastal natural environment.
Ecologists criticize the Ministry of Public Works for not keeping its promise in rationalising the States Ports, which has encouraged building freedom as for example el Puerto Exterior de La Coruña or the Puerto Industrial de Granadilla (Tenerife) that lack viability technically, environmentally and economically. This is why Greenpeace have urged the Ministry of the Environment to present urgently their plan of directives for the coastal areas.
And for last, Greenpeace have accused coastal councils for the lack of adequate water purification systems, stating that the rate at which new purification installations are being built or existing ones improved is well below the rate needed to salvage the environment from the serious existing contamination.
Should you wish to see the document to which this article refers, you can look it up at: