First meeting with the new government to talk about the environment

Yesterday (23 July 2015) morning, Amics de la Terra Mallorca met with Vicenç Vidal, the new Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, and Catarina Amengual, the Director General for Natural Spaces and Biodiversity, for a first meeting to present our requests and to talk about the projects we’re working on.

Among other things, we insisted on the need to set up a participation and communication system between the government and other bodies in Mallorca and the rest of the islands.

Read the official government press release (Catalan only)

Amics de la Terra Baleares has sent a document with three main proposals to the political parties that are currently negotiating the structure of the new Balearic government, so that they can take them into consideration in the agreements that are being debated at this time.

The Environment Department must be reinstated. As in previous terms in office, we believe it’s crucial to separate the two departments: environment and territory on the one hand, and agriculture on the other. In our opinion, the merging of the two departments (creating a macro-department) has meant that not only has it been impossible for a single department to act adequately, but it also relegated the environment to an inferior level with respect to the main topics to be prioritised. We don’t believe that this would mean a cost much different to that currently, as the previous merger has kept pretty much the same number of director generals, businesses and public services. In addition, we think that the executive management related to transport and property should be transferred, with these responsibilities attributed to the Department for the Economy.

What’s more, and considering that the land and natural resources available locally are limited, we propose that the new Balearic government carries out an in-depth study of each island’s maximum capacity in order to have a base from which to take the necessary territorial measures for adapting the legislative situation to the study’s results. In any case, and given the existing situation of extensive urban development on the islands, this new territorial model should base itself on the “zero growth” principle.

Finally, establish an ‘eco tax’. We believe that the decision on the eco tax must agree on the maximum possible and should not be applied only to visitors staying in hotels. There are ever more people staying in unregulated private houses, apartments and rural properties. Certain criteria must be established as a base for implementing an eco tax and we propose that: it should be a small amount (1€ maximum per person per day); payment should be easy for visitors and destined only to improve the environment; the way the money collected is used should be transparent and available for the general public to see via, for example, a website. The results should be measurable, demonstrable and possible to visit by citizens and visitors.

Amics de la Terra is available to the political parties that will make up the new Balearic government for discussing other environmental issues (waste, energy, natural spaces, the Tourism Law, the Land Law, the Water Plan and so on) that will be key during the next term in office.

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