March 2017 News Headlines

Spain's paper recycling efforts is 'among the world's elite'

March 23rd
A total of 78% of all paper consumed in Spain was recycled in 2015 – while collection of paper for recycling reached 4.6 million tonnes. To highlight the crucial role played by Spanish municipalities in this success story, 29 local authorities in 12 autonomous regions across Spain received recognition for their contribution to paper and board collections at the Blue Birdies 2017 Awards held recently in Madrid. At the event, Spain’s environment minister Isabel García Tejerina praised the efforts made in recent years by a ‘highly specialised’ paper business sector, adding that the involvement of local councils and the awareness of their citizens have proved essential. For full story see: Recyclinginternational

Growth in use of renewable energy stalls

March 21st
Growth in Spain’s use of renewable energies has come to a near halt. Gross final consumption of energy for 2015 from clean sources was almost the same as the previous year, according to data released on Tuesday by Eurostat for the entire European Union. In 2014, the figure for Spain was 16.14%, and in 2015, it was 16.15%. Spain’s poor performance was mitigated by the use of biomass, given that there was a fall in the use of clean energy to generate electricity in 2015. Furthermore, Spain is not part of the group of 11 advanced nations that have met their EU commitments for 2020, by which time 20% of energy consumed in Spain should be renewable, four percentage points higher than at present. For full story see: El País in English.

Valencia region experiences the wettest winter on record

March 21st
Spain’s eastern Valencia region has just experienced the wettest winter on record. In the provinces of Valencia and Alicante, there had not been this much rain since authorities began keeping weather records back in 1864. It is the same story in Castellón province, which began keeping track of rainfall in 1920. The unprecedented wet weather – two and a half times what is considered normal rain levels for this season – comes just a year after the region experienced the driest winter on record. And forecasts indicate that intense weather events will occur more frequently in future due to climate change, according to Jorge Tamayo, the Valencia representative for the Spanish weather agency Aemet. For full story see: El País in English

Companies abandon plans for fracking in Spain

March 19th
At the beginning of the decade, five companies began eyeing Spain’s underground resources, promising that the US shale boom could be reproduced on the Iberian peninsula. The conservative government of the Popular Party (PP) lent its weight to fracking – or hydraulic fracturing, the technique used to extract gas from underground shale deposits – in order to reduce the country’s near-complete dependence on hydrocarbon imports. But low gas prices and strong social rejection, including from local and regional authorities, have thwarted those plans. Now, all five firms have given up on fracking altogether. For full story see: El País in English

CO2-reduced Carton Pack Combibloc EcoPlus now at Carrefour in Spain

March 19th
Carrefour, one of the biggest distribution chains in Europe, is offering three different types of UHT milk in the combibloc EcoPlus 1,000 ml aseptic carton pack in Spain. This carton pack consists of the EcoPlus structure from SIG Combibloc, which generates less CO2 compared to a conventional 1-litre carton pack of the same format. Carrefour, one of the biggest distribution chains in Europe, is offering three different types of UHT milk in the combibloc EcoPlus 1,000 ml aseptic carton pack in Spain. This carton pack consists of the EcoPlus structure from SIG Combibloc, which generates less CO2 compared to a conventional 1-litre carton pack of the same format. For full story see: Packaging Europe

Spanish wetlands threatened by climate change and poor management

March 16th
Climate change and local threats can lead to the "extinction" of Mediterranean wetland ecosystems such as Doñana , Tablas de Daimiel , the Albufera de Valencia and Ebro Delta "in a few years, at most in tens", if uses and exploitation are not drastically changed in these areas. A researcher of the Department of Ecology of the Faculty of Sciences of the Autonomous University of Madrid, Paloma Alcorlo, explained that the main threats to these ecosystems are over-exploitation of aquifers, agricultural uses, illegal wells and the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides. Alcorlo stated that the article aimed to raise awareness about the opportunities to improve effective conservation at the local level. "The options for local management are clear and relatively cheap. This opportunity should be taken, especially when it comes to ecosystems of vital importance to maintain global biodiversity,". From: Ecoavant

Calpe to promote Bird Watching

March 16th
The "Salinas de Calp" salt marshes and the sea cliffs and coastal mountains of the Penyal d 'Ifac and the Morro de Toix, and Sierra de Oltà, enable birdwatching fans to see a great diversity of species, some of great interest for foreign birdwatchers because they are species exclusive to the Mediterranean area. The Department of Tourism of Calpe has therefore published a guide that offers "twitchers" four different routes describing the most frequent birds in each environment and the months in which they can be observed. 173 sepcies have been observed in the salt marshes, among which the outstanding species is the flamingo. From: Las Provincias

Xabia purchases old Coastguard Civil barracks

The ruins on La Plana could become a youth hostel

March 16th
Xabia Town Hall has purchased two properties which once housed coastguard barracks (which, after the Spanish Civil War, were taken over by the Guardia Civil and became the property of the State). The purchase price was 25,486 euros - 13,805 euros for the estate in La Granadella which covers some 985 square metres and 11,681 euros for that on La Plana which covers some 1,200 square metres. Acting as watchtowers over the sea, they were formally property of the Carabineros - essentially coastguards - during the 19th century. At the beginning of the last century, the body became responsible for the control of land borders and surveillance of ravines and hidden coves to prevent smuggling.The barracks located on La Plana now lie ruins whilst those of La Granadella have long since disappeared. For full story see: Javeamigos, They have not decided what to do with these properties, but an idea to make the one on La Plana into a youth hostel has been mooted From: Las Provincias

"La Grava" beach in the port to be managed all year round

March 16th
Xàbia is creating its first "winter beach" by placing buoys all year round off the Playa de la Grava, a beach that is more easily maintained and less savaged by winter storms than others in the municipality. A series of eight numbered bouys will be anchored some 50 metres offshore to create a safe area for swimming that is out of bounds to boats. The rest of the coast will be marked between June 1st and October 15th. A new project has been approved for the installation of buoys and floating platforms along the coast of Xàbia for the 2017-2020 period, a contract that will soon be put out to tender with a projected budget of 463,634 euros. There will be more and new anchorage pints along the coast, especially in areas which tend to get saturated in the summer, and in diving areas. For full story see: Javeamigos

Madrid warns of “negative consequences” of Brexit on Spain

March 10th
It’s going to be a so-called hard Brexit: for the European Union, for the United Kingdom, and for Spain. That is the finding of an internal report produced by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for the Brexit commission headed by Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría – a document which warns of the impact on Spain of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. The Spanish economy will “suffer the negative consequences” of the departure of one of the country’s leading trading partners from the bloc. The situation of British nationals resident in Spain and that of Spaniards living in the United Kingdom is also a matter for concern: Brexit will lead to “innumerable repercussions” for more than one million people, says the document seen by El Pai's. For full story see: El País in English

Expat groups start to organise on Brexit

March 10th
EuroCitizens organised a roundtable at the European Parliament offices in central Madrid attended by British expats, Spanish citizens, politicians, academics and journalists, all of whom are equally as concerned by Brexit, and who were there to hear a panel of experts discuss what the process could mean for them and for their countries’ joint futures. Eurocitizens, one of many campaigning groups to have sprung up across Europe ever since British voters decided that they wanted out of the 28-country club. The organization, run by long-term residents of Spain, says it is not trying to turn the clock back on the Brexit vote, but rather campaign to preserve the rights of Britons in Spain and Spaniards in the United Kingdom, during what will no doubt be an extremely long-drawn-out negotiation process as country extricates itself from the EU. Here are some of the figures released by Eurocitizens: Spain is the number-one destination for British nationals living outside the UK; British nationals permanently resident in Spain 308,821 (France: 185,344); Properties owned by British nationals in Spain: 110,373; British nationals who are employed (65%) or self-employed (35%) in Spain: 59,529; British retirees who receive a UK pension and live in Spain 107,980 ; Spaniards on Erasmus+ programmes in the UK: 5,651 For full story see: El Pais in English.

Municipal vegetable allotments up for allocation

March 10th
The Xàbia Department of the Environment is reviving the municipal allotment project has awarded a first batch of plots next to CEIP Trenc d'Alba. These municipal allotments offer residents the opportunity to grow their own vegetables whilst at the same time converting empty land in non-polluting spaces, conducive to biodiversity and improve the environmental quality of Xàbia. Eleven allotments have been allocated, eight of which have been awarded to individuals who applied for them and fulfilled the requirements to be successful, such as being registered as a resident in Xàbia, unemployed or retired, etc. Of the remaining plots, two have been given to the neighbouring school whilst the third has been allocated to users of the TAPIS occupational workshop, an organisation which promotes the socio-labour integration of certain groups with problem with social marginalization through therapeutic support and pre-employment training. Councillor Doris Courcelles (Environment) explained that 24 plots remain vacant and that the application period will be opened for all interested parties to register their applications. These plots will be directly awarded or there will be a draw if there is more demand. During this new stage of management individual water meters have been installed on each allotment and users will pay for actual consumption rather than paying a flat a fee. Full story on: Javeamigos

Ports Authority to repair harbour wall

March 10th
The Ports Authority will spend €250,000 on emergency repairs to some 80 metres of the harbour wall near the Tango cove which was severely damaged duirng the winter storms. It is in the process of obtaining the necessary money from the contingency fund at the Generalitat Valenciana. The authorities are now processing environmental permits and will be looking for a contractor to start the repair work as soon as possible which will be carried entirely from the land and would not interfere with normal activity in the port. For full story see:Javeamigos

Costas to restore Portet Beach

March 7th
The Ministry of the Environment (coasts) is to bring in 8000 tons of sand to rebuild Moraira's Portet beach after it was severely damaged by last winter's storms. The work, starting this week, will take around 10 days and during that time access to the beach will be restricted during working days. The idea is to replace the sand that was lost and re-establish the sedimentary balance by reconstructing the beach profile, without affection the marine ecosystem. From: Las Provincias

Marina Alta launches regional plan for employment

March 7th
On Tuesday, eighteen of the 31 municipalities and thirteen business and other entities signed the Regional Agreement for Employment and Local Development, a tool that this region had until today lacked, though it is widespread in other areas in the Comunidad. In addition to the eight municipalities that are part of Creama, the pact includes ten other municipalities of the Marina Alta and various social agents such as the Chamber of Commerce of Alicante, CC.OO., Cedma, Fevecta , Jovempa, Marina Alta Emprende, UGT, UNED of Denia, Aehtma, IES PV and Xarxa Joves. Creama, as a body with experience and implementation in the region, will manage the process of diagnosis, planning, action plan monitoring and evaluation. The agreement aims to coordinate resources to promote employment and prepare proposals agreed by all signatories to reach legislators to harmonise the regulations to the needs of the territory. from :La Marina Plaza

New General plan for public viewing in April

March 5th
The Department of Town Planning and Works has presented its annual review, a report on all the management carried out during 2016 from the issues of licences to the processing of files or planning applications. The review highlighted the work being carried out on the revision of the General Plan for Urban Planning with 23 meetings to follow up work and two visits to the Ministry of Urban Planning to coordinate the process. Councillor Isabel Bolufer (Urban Planning) explained that the drafting team has already presented the technical document of the preliminary version of the PGOU and that, if everything goes to plan, it will be able for public viewing in April. For full story see: Javeamigos For background information on this long-running story see: General Plan

The Superior Court of Justice protects Montgó agricultural landscape

March 5th
The agricultural "Colonias", a series of extensive dry stone terraces created on the Montgó in 1922 constitute a value in itself, not only as witnesses to a bygone era but also because of the landscape and environmental contributions they make to the natural park if they are preserved in the form in which they were conceived. The Montgó Natural Resource Management Plan (PORN)already states this, but it has now also been endorsed by the courts. A ruling of the Superior Court of Justice (TSJ) of the Comunitat Valenciana concluded, among other things, that in the "Colonias": "in no case can actions be accepted for the covert construction of housing intended for residential use and without connection to the conservation of cultural heritage which the Colonias themselves constitute. From: La Marina Plaza

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