April 2018 News Headlines

May 6th - Clean the coast day

April 24th
The Department of Tourism has scheduled Sunday May 6 as the Second Day of Cleaning of the Coast, a group action that began last year for the improvement of the environment and sustainable tourism. It also aimed to involve society in tangible actions that benefit the environment. That the entire coastline of Xàbia has been zoned from the Cova Tallada to the Granadella, so that each area is coordinated by the participating associations and clubs. There are many collaborating entities, from diving clubs to active tourism companies as well as the Nautical Club and Marina Nou Fontana. The excursionists, school children, Red Cross, Fisherman's Association, Oceanographic Institute are also involved. Anyone interested in Participating should contact the tourist office via: tel 96 579 43 56 or e-mail: gro.aibax|emsirut#gro.aibax|emsirut. From: La Marina Plaza Eds note: According to initial reports 265 people took part in the event with many people travelling to the coast from as far away as Sagunto, Alcoi, Paterna, Puzol, Valencia, Gandía and Alzira as well as Dénia, Oliva and Teulada. A total of 78 large sacks of rubbish and debris were removed, including plastics items, polystyrene packaging, iron and lead weights as well as a number of tyres and the ubiquitous shopping trolley. The general feeling of the participants was that, despite the amount of rubbish still being thrown onto the beaches and into the sea, the general feeling has been that the coast was cleaner than the previous year. Full story on: Javeamigos

Xàbia girls in Technovation Challenge regional final

April 24th
Students from the María Inmaculada School visited mayor José Chulvi yesterday morning to speak about their involvement in the regional final of the Technovation Challenge, a initiative promoted by the non-profit company Iridescent which offers girls world-wide the necessary training to be enterprising and technological leaders. Under the guidance of their IT teacher, the students have developed two different projects with corresponding business plans and mobile app technology. One is focused on the environment, specifically on the promotion of recycling, whilst the other attends to a social need by addressing the problem of loneliness amongst the elderly. The girls will be presenting their ideas before a jury at the Universidad Politécnica and will be amongst some 450 students in the territorial final. If they pass on to the national phase of the competition, they will be required to present their projects in English. From: Javeamigos For more about Technovation see:Iridescent technovation.

Palma de Mallorca will be first Spanish city to ban tourist apartments

April 24th
Starting in July, homeowners in Palma, on the Balearic Island of Mallorca, will not be allowed to rent out their apartments to tourists. Studies show that the number of unlicensed tourist apartments on offer grew 50% between 2015 and 2017 to reach 20,000 units. In Palma, which is Spain’s eighth-largest city by population, only 645 properties used for short-term vacation rentals have proper licenses. The problem of affordable rent in Palma has been raised not only by residents but also by workers who commute to Mallorca from mainland Spain. City officials say that while vacation rentals are not the sole cause, they are a factor in the 40% rise in average rental prices since 2013. For full story see: El Pais in English

The capital of the popular Mediterranean destination has adopted a pioneering measure in Spain, where other cities are also struggling with the consequences of mass tourism, including overcrowded centers and soaring rent.

One in every four new companies set up in the first quarter of 2018 are in construction

April 19th
One in four companies created in Spain during the first quarter of 2018 belong to the construction sector. 26,258 companies were created of which 5,987 (23%) dedicated their activity to construction or real estate. According to the quarterly report on the creation of companies prepared by the financial company Gedesco, this figure is 1.7% higher than in the same period last year. Of these , 754 were in the Comunidad Valenciana. From El Economista

Valencia Government plans to ban some single use plastics

April 12th
The new "Plan Integral de Residuos (PIR)" - Integrated Plan of residues, includes a ban on single use plastics such as coffee capsules, cotton buds and plastic cutlery and plates. This is similar to the measures taken by the Balearics and would come into force in 2020. They will also follow the EU strategy to reduce plastic production and ban microplastics. Apparently a large part of the organic matter coming from waste treatment plants cannot be used as organic compost. Incinerating is considered one of the last options in the recycling heirarchy. Unfortunately a deposit and return system (SSDR) looks unlikely at present since detailed studies have concluded that there was neither consensus, nor technical, economic or logistic solutions which were likely to work. However an SSDR has been included in the Comprehensive Waste Plan. From: Mediterraneo

Xàbia plans to have the concession of the Cap de Sant Antoni lighthouse in June

April 12th
Xàbia hopes that the concession of the Cap de Sant Antoni lighthouse will be ready next June. The goal is to obtain a license for the lighthouse to be managed by the Xàbia Town Hall and turn it into a visitor's centre about the marine reserve. The model they plan to follow is that of the Albir lighthouse, though details of the project are yet to be defined as well as the cost of conversion. From: Las Provincias

Xàbia "RADARS" project to fight loneliness among the elderly

April 10th
RADARS Project is the community programme through which Xàbia seeks to fight against the loneliness amongst the elderly. The objective is for everyone to take an active role and act as 'radars' to detect such situations that lead to loneliness and warn the council who will seek resources to promote conditions of well-being, dignity and security. It was launched last December and has been very well received. The councillor said it had received information from people who could be in a precarious situation (especially foreigners who are very old and don't have family in Xàbia). In some serious cases, the council looks for the person's family, a residence or takes them to hospital for treatment. The Department of Social Services is now carrying a series of meetings with groups such as social associations, health centre personnel and chemists to explain how to act if they detect situations that may lead to loneliness such as losing a partner, a weak family network, a disabling illness or poor economic position. Procedures are also being created for volunteers to contribute their services such as generating a bond of trust and companionship with the older person and inviting them to participate in community activities in their immediate area. To participate or for more information, interested parties can telephone 96-579-4142 extension 3818 or by sending an email se.aibax|sroinesradar#se.aibax|sroinesradar. The next stage in the development of the project will be to present it to the urbanisations where information leaflets have already been distributed. The neighbourhood is key when it comes to detecting cases in a municipality which has thousands of homes scattered across its territory and where people with language problems live. For full story see: Javeamigos

SEO/Birdlife volunteers embark on annual bird count

April 10th
Spanish ornithological association SEO/Birdlife is mobilizing more than 1,000 volunteers this month to help count bird populations across Spain, part of the annual drive to update European censuses and monitor changes in natural habitat in the struggle to halt declining bird populations across Europe. The volunteers will be participating in both the Common Bird Monitoring program, known by its Spanish acronym as SACRE, and the NOCTUA program to provide data for estimating the current population of nocturnal birds across Spain. Set to begin in mid-April, the annual bird count will be conducted by volunteers in both rural and urban areas nationwide and this year SEO/Birdlife is particularly interested in monitoring bird populations in areas where data collection has been scant in recent years, particularly in Castilla-La Mancha, La Rioja, Aragon, Asturias, the Balearic Islands and Galicia. For full story see: Progressive Spain.

Alcalá to get Europe’s first solar-biomass heating plant

April 10th
Alcalá de Henares in the Madrid regional community is slated to become the first city in Europe to provide heating to its businesses and citizens from renewable energy generated from a hybrid high temperature solar thermal and biomass facility. Construction on the hybrid facility of Alcalá District Heating (ADH) is slated to begin next year at a total cost of 40 million over three years and when completed will provide solar-biomass heating to more than 9,000 homes, as well as businesses, schools and universities and government buildings. The project will include the largest distribution network for heating and hot water in Spain, generated from a hybrid 20 MW forest biomass plant and 5 MW high-temperature solar thermal facility to be located three kilometers outside Alcalá. According to ADH’s CEO Teo López, the plant will eventually be able to supply hot water to half the city’s population. For full story see: Progressive Spain

Benitatxell installs a composter at school

April 10th
The Poble Nou de Benitatxell is installing a composter in the school to raise awareness among students of the importance of recycling organic matter. With it, Santa María Magdalena schoolchildren will be able to convert 40% of the waste generated in the dining room into fertilizer that will pay for ecological school gardens. The composter has been installed together with an explanatory and educational panel of the recycling process. The project is part of the educational actions and the promotion of ecology carried out by the Department of Education. From Las Provincias

Expert energy panel urges more renewables, tax on CO2

April 4th
A 14-member expert panel set up by Spain’s government at the behest of Congress to advise on energy policies has issued a 546-page report that calls for a firm commitment to renewable energy and a new tax on carbon emissions that will result in reduced electricity prices to the consumer and enable Spain to end electricity generation from coal-fired power plants by 2030. The report calls for a small increase in gasoline prices to consumers of just 2 percent, while electricity cost to the consumer would fall by nearly 7 percent. If adopted by the government, the policy changes outlined in the report would see a steep 28 percent hike in the cost of industrial fuel oil as a result of a tax applied to energy from fossil fuels. Electricity produced by coal-fired plants would disappear by 2030, but the report also calls for a 50-year increase in the life of nuclear power plants. The plan outlined in the report calls for a reduction of carbon emissions in non-industrial sectors of 26 percent from 2005 levels, an 27 percent increase in energy production from renewable sources and a 30 percent net energy savings overall. For full story see: Progressive Spain

Spanish government rushes to reform “out of date” rules before forest fire season begins

April 9th
Aerial firefighters have just been given the chance to smother wildfires more effectively. Ahead of the prevention campaign this summer, legislation exempting air tankers from complying with standard rest periods has been tweaked, according to the Official State Bulletin (BOE). The amendment means they can now work up to three consecutive hours, as opposed to two, a welcome change in the wake of one of the worst years for forest fires since 2010. “Statistically, most forest fires last for three hours and the first hours of tackling them are the most effective,” says the spokesman. “There have been cases in which the fire has had to be abandoned to comply with the legislation and has then taken longer to put out when work has resumed. When it comes to planes that can’t fill with water in reservoirs close to the fire, the journey to refill is not efficient to deal with a fire. Normally, the plane doesn’t work for more than 40 or 50 minutes on the fire in the two hours stipulated by the legislation.” for full story see: El Pais in English

Valencia pledges 8 million to improve Xàbia's schools

While Parador gets more than 2 million

April 8th
The Generalitat Valenciana has pledged some 8 million euros for improvements to be made to all the public schools in Xàbia. Through the Plan Edificant, improvements to all primary and secondary schools as well as education centres can start as soon as the investment has been passed to the Ayuntamiento and the tenders have been tendered and commissioned, the final amount being charged to the regional government. The first centre to benefit from this investment will be CEIP Trenc d'Alba in which some 1.4 million euros worth of renovations will be carried out, including the construction of a gymnasium, extension of the kitchen and dining room, improvements to toilets and a playground for the children. In addition, IES Antoni Llidó will see damaged basic infrastructure repaired and a new classroom will be constructed at IES Numero 1 in the port. CEIP Port de Xàbia will see repairs made to a passageway where the surface has subsided (it was built on the old river bed) and improvements will be made to the playground. At CEIP L'Arenal a new playground will be created and the corridors between the floors will be closed to improve energy efficiency. At CEIP Vicente Tena the gymnasium will be renovated as well as the toilets and a new lift will be installed, the latter work being implemented directly by the Education Ministry during the summer. For full story see: Javeamigos. At the same time, the Ministry of Public Works has earmarked €2.5 million in 2018 to renovate the Parador's 70 rooms with another €4 million in 2019. (From:Xàbia al Día)

The Marina Alta leads the sale of homes to foreigners

April 8th
During 2017, the sale of homes to foreigners reached record figures in Spain, and a report by "Home Spain" predicts that this upward trend will continue during this 2018. Non-resident foreign citizens boughtmore than 61,000 homes in 2017, 7,000 more than in 2016, especially in the coastal provinces and the islands. In the Valencian Community, the sale to foreigners last year reached 25% of real estate transactions. Alicante remains the preferred province for the European market, with 40% of its sales to foreigners. Dénia, Xàbia, Orba, Moraira and Benissa top the list. "the most common buyers are British, Dutch, Germans or middle-class Belgians, between 50 and 65 years of age and retired or close to retirement, in search of their second home." The average investment of the foreign buyer in this area ranges between 200,000 and 400,000 euros, and the housing types in most demand according to Home Spain are villas with 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms and swimming pool, or townhouses in complex with communal pool. From:[* https://lamarinaplaza.com/2018/04/03/la-marina-alta-lidera-la-venta-de-viviendas-a-extranjeros-en-la-costa-con-cifras-de-record/ la Marina Plaza]. Another article in Sunday's Las Provincias describes how properties in Valencia's run down district of el Cabañal are being snapped up by foreign buyers wanting to invest for places to let or summer retreats; at the same time in the UK press the Sunday Times Culture supplement describes how "secondary" Spanish cities are turning into opportunities for property investment - deciding factors being airport access.

Valencia to launch a centre for sustainable food

April 8th
The idea announced by the Mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó is to develop a global sustainable food centre in a permanent collaboration with FAO for the transmission of experiences and research on sustainable agriculture and nutrition. Last year Valencia hosted a meeting of mayors and representatives of cities that had signed the so-called Pact of Milan, a document signed in 2015 that seeks to promote urban policies in favor of sustainable food. Ribó called for wagering on proximity markets, such as bringing the Valencian garden closer to the city, as well as educating young people about food processes and promoting urban gardens. He also advocated "redirecting" research, which is "too thought out from the interests of multinationals" towards proximity markets and the fields of organic farming and traditional practices. From:El Mundo

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