August 2017 News Headlines

Only three of 10 Marina Alta municipalities rated at risk have Municipal Action Plans against floods

August 30th
Ten of the 33 municipalities of Marina Alta are at flood risk as listed by the Generalitat Valenciana and are therefore obliged to have Municipal Action Plans (MAP). However just three, Xàbia, Ondara and El Verger, already have a plan. Denia, Calp, Teulada, Pedreguer, Xaló, Els Poblets and the Vall de Gallinera, however, are obliged to have one because their municipalities are classified as high or intermediate risk. The list also includes Calp and Pedreguer, although these two are not obliged because they are low risk. For some reason, Xàbia's plan does not appear on the Generalitat's list even though the town has had one since 2014. From: La Marina Plaza.

Spain to recall 20,000 tonnes of fruit due to overproduction

August 25th
The European Commission has approved the Spanish government’s request to recall nearly 20,000 tonnes of peaches and nectarines from the market due to excess production. According to the ministry’s calculations, this will bring the total of the quantities recalled from the market to around 40,000 tonnes. Some 21,000 tonnes have already been withdrawn this summer. The objective of this initiative is to withdraw surplus production from the market – mainly due to the Russian veto on European fruit and vegetables – in order to stimulate prices. The 19,550 tons of peach and nectarine will be directed to the production of juice and for the benefit of food banks, which will distribute them to the poor. From: Euractiv

Xàbia mayor makes assurances about the General Plan, Granadella and Tourism

August 24th
Local social media has been ripe with rumours and counter-rumours, inaccuracies and allegations about a number of issues, particularly to do with the draft General Plan which has been available for public scrutiny since June and the Granadella shuttle bus project which has enraged many residents in Costa Nova. In response, mayor José Chulvi offered to try and answer some of those queries and questions in a special interview provided to For full interview see: Javeamigos
Ed's note: For readers' convenience I have posted the text of the interview on this Wiki page: Chulvi Interview August 2017

Spanish honey production drops, as bees disappear

August 24th
Honey production in Spain dropped 4.08% last year, the country’s agriculture ministry warned. A decline in bees, which pollinate between 5% and 8% of global food production, poses a serious threat the food chain. The drop in honey production breaks the growing trend that started in 2012, according to the annual report on economic indicators published by Spain’s ministry of agriculture, fisheries, food and the environment (Mapama). In 2016, Spain produced 32,076 tonnes of honey, signalising a drop in volume of 7.35% compared to the volume obtained only five years ago. But bee numbers are falling rapidly due to habitat loss, climate change, invasive species and pesticide use. Research by the European Commission found that 9.2% of bee species are endangered. “The largest numbers of threatened species are located in south-central Europe,” highlights a report dated April 2017. “The main threat to European bees is habitat loss as a result of agriculture intensification (e.g. changes in agricultural practices including the use of pesticides and fertilisers), urban development, increased frequency of fires and climate change.” For full story see: Euractiv

Montgó fire protection extended until the end of September

August 20th
Dénia and Xàbia, with the collaboration of Gata de Gorgos and Pedreguer, have agreed that the surveillance work will be extended until 30 September. Noting that the Montgó fire of 2014 and Granadella fire last year both took place in September, with the fire risk remaining high during that month despite the lower air temperatures. From: La Marina Plaza.

Rescued turtle to be released in Xàbia

August 20th
On Tuesday 22 August, the Oceanogràfic will release a turtle (Caretta caretta) on the coast of Xàbia . This turtle, numbered 297, arrived at the Oceanogràfic facility in Valencia last January from Cullera, where it was accidentally caught by a trawler. This release is part of the Xàbia Oceanogràfic Project, which, is being developed in the municipality with the aim of spreading information about the benefits of marine biodiversity. Before the turtle's release it will be given a name, chosen through a competition organised among the children of the 'Children's Autonomous Championship of Sailing by Teams' of the Yacht Club. From: Xabia al Dia

One hundred Kilos of rubbish in a single day

August 20th
Volunteers have collected 100 kilos of rubbish from the Cala Sardinera in a single day. The cleaning work is part of an environmental regeneration program involving young people from the United States and Malaysia. From: La Marina Plaza

Protests about possible Northern Ring Road

August 20th
A letter has been presented to the Town Hall against the inclusion of a northern Ring Road in the new general town plan. The route currently exists as a very narrow lane through the Soberana neighbourhood, a traditional area of old houses and narrow lanes. It it were to be built, it would necessitate the expropriation of land, possible demolition of buildings and destruction of character of the area (From: Vilaweb . Eds Note: However it should be noted that this suggestion was included in the 1990 plan, and never acted upon. It remains in the new plan as a possible development in the long term.

Eight roundabouts proposed for the Jesus Pobre Road

August 20th
The Diputación de Alicante has revealed plans to drastically change the layout of the Carretera de Jesús Pobre CV-735 between Xàbia and La Xara by installing a network of mini-roundabouts to improve safety along a stretch of road that has become renowned for accidents. A study into a five kilometre section of the road by the 'Área de Servicios e Infrastructuras, Departmento de Carreteras (Vías y Obras)' suggested that the majority of accidents had been caused by vehicles turning left across the carriageway or trying to access the main road from side roads with limited visibility and has proposed that a series of mini-roundabouts would eliminate these risks, especially those with limited visibility, and improve road safety. For full story see: Javeamigos There will be two types of roudabout - six with a diameter of six metres, and two with a diameter of 8 metres. from La Marina Plaza

Aquifers of 15 Marina Alta Towns contaminated by Nitrates

List includes Xàbia

August 14th
Beniarbeig, Benidoleig, Benimeli, Dénia, Sagra, Ondara, Orba, Pedreguer, Pego, Ràfol d'Almúnia, Sanet i Negrals, Els Poblets, Tormos, El Verger and Xàbia are going to be included in a list prepared by the Ministry of the Environment on populations throughout the Community whose aquifers are contaminated by nitrates. Their problem is that the wells they use are "vulnerable to contamination by nitrates of agricultural origin". They often exceed 50 milligrams of nitrate per litre, thus exceeding the maximum amount recommended by the WHO since 2004. This type of pollution occurs throughout the Comunitat. In the last list ssued by the Generalitat (2009), there were 215 affected municipalities; In the new one, which will be prepared shortly, there will be 266. About 24% more. The situation in Xàbia has been alleviated to some degree by use of the desalination plant. The most sensitive groups at risk for this type of contamination are infants fed only non-natural milk, pregnant women and people with gastric or natural hypochlorhydria. From La Marina Plaza.

Drought hits Spanish economy with a cost of €4,400 million

August 13th
The country is suffering its worst drought in hydrological terms since the 1990s. The worst hit has been on cereals. In Castilla y León, losses exceed €1 billion, with a crop reduction of between 50% and 80%. It is estimated that in some areas that rapeseed, cabbage, fodder and peas will barely reach a fifth of the normal crop. Reservoirs are at 46.5% of full capacity - the lowest for the past 11 years. From: La Rioja

Forest fires - what causes them ?

August 13th
An article in Sunday's Las Provincias reports that of the around 100 wildfires occurring in the Comunidad between January to June, 55 were considered to have been started deliberately, and 38 due to negligence. Investigations had led to arrests in only four cases. As one policeman noted: It's easier to clarify a homicide than a fire. Over the last 15 years, 174 fires have been ascribed to pyromaniacs. Other deliberately started fires are ascribed to farmers clearing land and stubble and pastoralists burning to regenerate pasture. However, an article in El Pais in English describes how the border area between Castellon and Aragón is a hot spot for fires started by lightning. As a whole, lightning only causes around 5% of the fires in Spain. But in Valencia and Aragón it causes around 25% of fires. For this reason, firefighters in Valencia have become a reference point in the fight against these kinds of forest fires, of which there are two different kinds. For example, lightning can split a tree in half and instantly trigger a fire. Or, it can generate a slow and subterranean combustion, which remains hidden for a couple of days until finally showing up as a highly destructive forest fire.

Number of foreign visitors to Spain staying in tourist apartments soars by 33%

August 13th
More and more visitors to Spain are are choosing to stay in apartments rather than hotels. The number of foreign tourists using platforms such as Airbnb in Spain increased by one million during the first half of 2017, a 33% hike that takes the total to around four million, according to the latest data from the National Statistics Institute (INE). To put the figure in perspective, the total number of visitors to Spain in the first six months of this year was 35.3 million, but the tourist apartment segment is the industry sector that is seeing fastest growth. “Congestion, gentrification, mass tourism, and resentment is the result of rapid and uncontrolled growth in the number of apartments being offered by platforms”…Spending by overseas visitors to Spain rose by 14.8% in the first half of the year to €37.2 billion, 36% of which was in the two regions that have registered the greatest number of protests against mass tourism: Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Tourists spent some €8.2 billion in Catalonia (22% of the total for Spain) in the first half of the year while the region’s car exports over the same period were worth around €5 billion. For full story see: El País in English

Tourism phobia - a reality

August 13th
Over the last 20 years, the Balearic islands have become venues for a non-stop party packed with tourists whose numbers grow annually. Record upon record is broken and this August it is predicted there will be as many tourists as locals. In Ibiza The 70,000 to 80,000 seasonal workers who arrive from the mainland to work the summer often share apartments with 12 others and pay €500 a month for a bed or sofa: either that or they sleep in cars or tents. In recent years, there have been outlandish accommodation listings including a mattress on a balcony going for €500 a month and a camping van for €700. Though nobody would deny that tourism is the main source of income on Mallorca, it is no longer seen as unequivocally beneficial or something to be accepted at any cost. Locals are growing sick of the way the mass tourism model is encroaching on their lifestyle. Not only are they unable to meet the absurdly high cost of living on the island, but they are also witnessing the desecration of their city’s character and the collapse of their services and infrastructure. Along with the tourists has come tourism-phobia. For full story see: El Pais in English

Granadella beach split into two after heavy rain

August 13th
A summer storm which hit Xàbia on Wednesday and especially overnight brought torrential rains and stormy seas which has caused major damage to two of the municipality's popular coves as well as personal property across the urbanisations. Weather stations at Viveros Montgó Verd and Cap de la Nau collected 143.4mm and 135.7mm. Two of the town's most popular beaches were badly damaged during the storm. Playa de la Barraca suffered minor damage which has been addressed by workers during the morning to return the beach to normal as soon as possible. However, the beach at La Granadella has seen major damage which has effectively seen it split into two as heavy rain pouring from the hills around the cove filled the dry river bed and caused massive erosion as it travelled towards the beach area and the sea. Some 48 sun beds and 21 umbrellas had been lost and the snack bar opposite the beach areas has also suffered damage. For full story see: Javeamigos

Table of Contents

Small investors in solar energy call for fair playing field and for Spain to 'stop wasting the sun'

August 13th
Small investors in solar power plants claim they are being discriminated against in Spain's energy auctions and are losing their savings because the country 'is wasting the sun'. A world leader in renewable energy and with an average of 300 days of sun per year, ploughing cash into solar panel parks should have been a no-brainer as far as investment opportunities go – but with subsidies cut and an auction floor price that favours power supplies with the highest output in hours, wind farms are getting the benefits whilst solar investors are actually asking banks to repossess their panels. For full story see: ThinkSpain

August temperatures below freezing reported in three provinces

August 13th
Whilst on the Mediterranean and south coast, locals and holidaymakers bemoaned cloudy skies and the thermometer plunging to the low 20ºCs, parts of the north and centre of the mainland registered temperatures below freezing. The record was held by the town of Robleda-Cervantes in the province of Zamora, which backs onto northern Portugal, where Thursday night went down to -1.9ºC. Both Galicia and the centre-northern region of Castilla y León – which Zamora is part of – are typically cool and temperate in summer; although they regularly enjoy sunshine and figures of well over 30ºC between June and September. Their standard lows for August nights rarely go below 14ºC. For full story see: ThinkSpain

The Old Town business association puts forward it's "Sorolla project"

August 9th
The Old Town Business Association " Xàbia histórica" has put forward its "Sorolla project" for the development of the Old Town . It consists of ten
proposals to revive and rejuvenate the Old Town. For details see: Xàbia Historica - 10 proposals

Almost no chance of Meeting Paris Climate Goals, Warns Grim New Study

August 6th
Two degrees Celsius: That’s the global temperature increment scientists say the world must stay beneath to avoid the worst effects of climate change. But according to a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, the odds of us staying under this threshold are looking pretty grim. The study, which looked at carbon use, population trends and the projected economic growth of 150 countries, forecast only a 5 percent chance that warming would be limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100. Despite the depressing findings, however, experts warned that giving up is not an option. Emissions could still significantly decline if there was, for instance, a substantial rise in renewable energy use or other “breakthrough technologies” ― factors that were not considered in the scientists’ calculations. For full story see: Huffington Post.

Extreme weather deaths in Europe 'could increase 50-fold by next century'

August 6th
Deaths from weather disasters could increase 50-fold in Europe by the start of the next century if no action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or protect citizens, researchers have warned. A new study estimates a toll of 152,000 deaths a year between 2071 and 2100 as a direct result of hazards relating to extreme weather, with those living in southern Europe likely to be the hardest hit. “Governments and policies should be focused more on designing suitable adaptation measures,” said Giovanni Forzieri, a co-author of the study from the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Italy. “If no adaptation measures [are] taken, these estimates are really alarming.” Writing in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, Forzieri and colleagues describe how they used state-of-the art predictions to explore how often and where seven types of weather disasters – including heatwaves, wildfires and floods – are likely to occur across Europe in the coming years if no action on global warming is taken. For full story see: The Guardian

The problems of excessive tourism

August 6th
There have been a number of stories in the press reporting anarchist demonstrations and attacks against tourists in Barcelona and Mallorca , See: The Independent.. As one comment on the article noted: "…what they are experiencing in the region is happening in many such places, with investment seemingly going to property, often to "outsiders", at the expense of local communities. Little is done to stimulate a wider economic base that might provide stability and opportunities for local communities beyond the transient tourist trade. The irony being that such market forces deprive these areas of the culture that attracted visitors in the first place.

Forum on Tourism strategy for the future

August 6th
Xàbia is organising a workshop "Mediterrània Xàbia Fòrum Destins Sostenibles" - 'Mediterranean Xàbia Sustainable Destinations Forum' - for the 26th and 27th October, to analyse and discuss with other municipalities how to adjust the tourism model so that it doesn't damage the local lifestyle or ruin the principles that are attractive to visitors. The forum will be attended by representatives of different administrations, companies, universities, social agents, cultural agents, etc. The seminar will also coincide with a working session of the 'Comisón de Turismo de la Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias', of which mayor Chulvi forms part, that scheduled to take place in the town so that for two days Xàbia will become the centre of the tourist industry in Spain. The mayor explained that "we are the generation that has to assume the responsibility to do something if we want Xàbia to continue being Xàbia and not a paradise lost" adding that he was convinced that a strategy change would not exhaust the life model on which it depends. For full story see: Javeamigos

Wildfires are raging in the Mediterranean. What can we learn?

August 6th
Today, even areas with a long evolutionary history of fire, including the Mediterranean, southern Australia and western United States, are seeing higher risks of fire, a change associated with a warming climate and the growing number of people who live near densely forested landscapes. It’s not that southern Europeans are moving to the forest – quite the opposite, in fact. Across the Mediterranean, decades of economic and social changes have led to rural depopulation as people move to larger cities. In 1950, almost 50% of the Spanish population lived in rural areas. By 1990, that figure had fallen by more than 25%. As a result, landscapes that previously comprised small-scale mosaics of farmland, grazing land and relatively open forests are now dominated by young, dense forests. So how can modern Mediterranean landscapes, with their ever-higher fuel loads, reduce the adverse effects of fires? Approaches include: suppressing fire, prescribed burning, developing open areas with widely spaced trees, grazing, new crops, involving local communities - but don't forget that fires promote biodiversity in the Mediterranean ecosystem. For detailed story see: The Conversation

Radical youth group stages anti-tourism protest in Palma restaurant

August 3rd
Around 20 youths affiliated with a radical left-wing group that supports Catalan independence burst into a restaurant in Palma de Mallorca on July 22 to protest what they view as the destructive effects of mass tourism on the Balearic island. The members of Arran Països Catalans – a group that operates throughout the parts of Spain where Catalan and its variants are spoken, including the Balearic Islands and the Valencia region – set off firecrackers and threw confetti at the diners inside the restaurant, which is located in the pier across from the cathedral. “They’re attacking the best kind of tourism in Mallorca, the kind that spends money,” laments Restaurant Manager Sánchez. “The tourists who come here are not like the ones who go to Magaluf. Maybe they should go protest there against mass tourism, the all-included packages and the low-cost prices.” For full story see: El Pais in English

Spain initiates sanctions against two vessel owners involved in illegal fishing

August 3rd
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment (MAPAMA) has initiated a disciplinary proceeding against the owners and managers of the vessels Thunder and Tchaw. The measure involves nine natural persons and three legal persons, all of Spanish nationality. Both vessels have been identified since 2005 by various international agencies as being involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. According to the Spanish law, these facts are classified as a very serious infringement, which may include fines of between EUR 60,001 and EUR 600,000, as well as disqualification for fishing activities and prohibition of any kind of public aid. This sanctioning proceeding is a consequence of Operation Sparrow 2, developed by the inspection services of the General Secretariat of Fisheries. To make it difficult to monitor their activity, these ships have operated under different names, making their IMO numbers essential for their identification. Thus, the ship Tchaw has also operated under the names Rex, Condor, Inca, Cisne Azul, Pescamex IV, Pescamex III, Arosa Cuarto and Pescacisne. For its part, the vessel Thunder has used the names Batu I, Raz, Ming No. 5, Thunder, Wuham No. 4, Kuko, Typhoon, Range, Rubin, Artic Ranger and Vesturvon. For full story see: Fish information services.

Illegal house on the Montgó to be demolished

August 3rd
The supreme court has ordered the demolition of a luxury villa, the construction of which was denounced 14 years ago. The owners had permission to repair an old farmhouse on 10,000m2 of non-urbanisable land, and overstepped the mark, creating a large villa, new access road and swimming pool. This was denounced by the Acció Ecologista-Agró organisation in 2003, and the case has now passed through the courts, with the result that the owners must demolish the house and pay legal expenses to the action group. From : La Marina Plaza

Three more helipads for fire fighting in the Marina Alta

One will be located in Xàbia

August 3rd
The Marina Alta is the most forested area of ​​Alicante and has biggest problem in terms of forest fires, but it has only one heliport of the Consorcio de Bomberos in Denia. The Provincial Emergency Plan announced by the Diputación de Alicante, has announced the creation of three other helipads for firefighting helicopters. They will be located in Xàbia, Pego and Vall de Gallinera. From :La Marina Plaza

The Hottest night on record

August 2nd
The Marina Alta, or at least the municipalities with a State Meteorology station (Xàbia and Pego), last night experienced the highest minima in a long time. Aemet reported that the highest night-time temperatures on record were reported in the province of Alicante. And it provided the measurements made in these two municipalities of the Marina Alta, as well as those of Alicante and Benidorm. Last night sleeping was very difficult due to the high temperatures. The thermometer did not fall below 27 degrees at the Xàbia station. Pego, 26.7. From: La Marina Plaza

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