May 2017 News Headlines

Draft General plan available for public scrutiny from June 7th

May 30th
The Ayuntamiento de Xàbia is to hold an extraordinary council session on Thursday to approve plans to present to the public the first draft document of the future General Urban Development Plan (PGOU). The process, formally known as the 'Plan de Participación Pública' - the 'Public Participation Plan' - will allow all interested parties to study the preliminary version of the PGOU. In order to encourage maximum transparency and consultation, the Council has decided to extend the public consultation period, which by law should be at least 45 days, to three months. For full story see: Javeamigos. The documentation and plans will be able to be physically consulted at the Casa de Cultura and at the technical office. And a specific section on the Town Hall website will enable an on-line inspection. This will mark twelve years since the new plan was initiated to replace the obsolete one of 1990. If all goes well it is hoped the plan will be in force by late 2018 or early 2019. From La Marina Plaza

Spain and Portugal could be hit by 'megadroughts' lasting 15 years by 2100, finds study

May 30th
Spain and Portugal could be hit by “megadroughts” lasting for many years by the end of the century, according to climate models. If the worst projections are correct, the area could see a 15-year period of rainfall at less than half the average level. Researchers from Newcastle University selected a total of 15 different climate models used by leading scientific bodies around the world, including Nasa, the Met Office and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. “Some project small increases in drought conditions but most project multi-year droughts reaching up to … eight years of mean annual rainfall missing [over a 15-year period] … by the end of the century. In October last year, scientists reported that temperatures in southern Europe had risen by about 1.3C since the 19th century, compared to the global average of 0.85C For full story see: The Independent

Marina Alta Windmills to be protected at last

May 29th
"We can not understand how this file had not been started before." remarked a technician of the Directorate of Culture and Heritage of the Generalitat in finding out that 29 historical windmills in eight towns of the Marina Alta had not yet been preserved. This despite the fact that there had been several attempts to do so since 2008: requested by Xàbia on three occasions and Gata once. The Valencia Government decided to remedy this situation and convened a coordination meeting in Xàbia to initiate a file of Cultural Interest (BIC) for the mills in five localities represented at the meeting: the mayor of Xàbia, Jose Chulvi, Pedreguer, Sergi Ferrús, and councilors or technicians of Gata, Calp and Teulada. The technicians appealed to the other three municipalities, Benissa, Llíber and Dénia (including Jesus Pobre), to join in since a joint proposal will accelerate the protection of BIC: "we can act ex officio for those municipalities that do not apply for this protection , but we will save time if it is the municipalities who ask since they have all the information, including ownership and cadastral information. From: La Marina PlazaLa Mari

The Ecomov awards set the standard for efficient mobility

May 29th
The 2nd Ecomov Exhibition, dedicated to ecological mobility, recognised those who invest in low-emission mobility with the First Ecomov Awards. The five winners were the taxi driver Francisco Javier Pérez, (electric taxi bought in 2015) the cyclist Paco Tortosa, (publicising Bike lanes) the General Hospital of Valencia, supermarkets Consum (natural gas powered truck) and Puerto de Valencia (quick charging points and electric cars). From: Las Provincias

Granadella will receive 400,000 euros for recovery after the fire

May 29th
Xàbia has hosted a new session of the Coordination Roundtable created between Xàbia town hall, the Generalitat Valenciana, the Diputación de Alicante and various technical advisors and security bodies to regulate the recovery of the Granadella area after the devastating fire of last September. The Generalitat Valenciana has committed some 150,000 euros to work on landscape recovery, removal of fire debris and the strengthening the surfaces of the slopes. The Ministry of the Environment has also been working for several months on the drafting of management rules for the LIC dels Penya-Segats in the Marina Alta and the Red Natura 2000, a protected zone into which falls the Granadella area. Raúl Carrascal, representing the Diputación de Alicante, explained than an investment of 200,000 euros will be made to protect the urban-forest zone and in Cansalades, the secure zone will be enlarged from 6 to 16 metres in width. Another 42,000 euros will be used to treat areas which escaped the fire by thinning out the forest to reduce the density of trees to both allow the growth of vegetation and avoid the risk of another forest fire. For full story see: Javeamigos

Health Tourism brings in some €307 million

May 27th
Private health care is cheaper in Spain than in many other countries, and private hospitals acre cashing in by providing treatments to visitors to the tune of some €307 million. The main demands are for IVF, prosthesis and plastic surgery, and the healthcare tourists tend to spend ten times as much as the average sun and beach tourist. 20% of the treatments are for IVF according to Spaincares (From Las Provincias Sunday Edition)

Xàbia fails in bid to get EU development funds

but will go ahead with the project in any case

May 23rd
Xàbia's proposal called "Fent Xàbia" designed to get co-financing from the EU via the EDUSI programme has failed to win any funding. The only successful twon was Calpe, while Xàbia, Denia and Teulada came away empty handed. However the Town Hall has already budgeted for its half of the expenditure and plans to proceed with aspects of the project in any case. From: Las Provincias and Xabia al Dia. For details of Xàbia's proposal see: EDUSI Integrated sustainable Urban development.

Spain's bans docking of dogs tails

May 19th
Spain’s Senate has approved a law to ban the cruel practice across Spain in what is hailed as a victory for animal rights. On March 16th the Spanish Congress had voted to pass the law, which will put Spain in line with the 1987 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. There had been concerns that the PP would block the legistlation at the Senate level. The practice of removing parts of a dog’s tail, known as docking, is often justified by hunters as a way to prevent the animal from collecting burrs or brambles that could cause them pain or infection. But opponents say it causes the dog unnecessary pain and suffering, and when performed incorrectly, the procedure can lead to lifelong problems. For full story see: The

Spain's healthcare ranks 8th in the world

May 19th
The Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQ), published in the UK journal The Lancet on Thursday, studied the quality of healthcare in 195 countries by measuring mortality rates from causes that should not be fatal in the presence of effective medical care. Spain scored 90 points out of a maximum of 100. Andorra topped the Index with a score of 95, followed by Iceland (94) and then Switzerland in third place on 92 points. Sweden and Norway made up the top five and 13 of the top 15 countries were in Western Europe, joined by Australia (6th) and Japan (11th). The UK was placed 30th and the US 35th. For full story see: The Local ES

Mayor Chulvi writes open letter of thanks for support after cycling tragedy

May 17th
Mayor José Chulvi has published an open letter to thank the people of Xàbia as well as the institutions of the Marina Alta and the Comunidad Valenciana for their support and assistance in the days after the tragic cycling accident of last Sunday. In the emotional text, he called the people of Xàbia, whether they be natives or coming from other parts of the world, as the town's best asset, reacting to the tragedy with respect and common sense whilst pledging to continue supporting the families of the victims and hoping for the quick recovery of the two badly injured. For full text of the letter see: Javeamigos

More than 550 kilos of rubbish collected in coast cleaning campaign

May 17th
A total of 175 volunteers took part in last Sunday's initiative to clear the coast of Xàbia of rubbish and other detritus in readiness for the arrival of summer. Organised by the Department of Tourism, a dozen groups from different associations, businesses and organisations spread along the coast to clean coves, caves and beaches, removing more than 550 kilos of rubbish. Amongst the material removed from the coast as well as from the seabed were lots of plastic items, tyres, cigarette butts and fishing weights and lines. In addition, several large items were removed including a fridge, a large metal box, a butane gas bottle and even a bicycle. The body of a wild boar was also taken away. For full story see: Javeamigos

Spain to ramp up roadside alcohol tests in bid to protect cyclists

May 17th
Spain’s General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) has announced tougher measures to protect cyclists following three serious accidents in the last two weeks involving drunk drivers that killed three riders and left 11 others injured. The body responsible for road safety in Spain on Tuesday unveiled a plan that will see increased roadside controls for alcohol and drugs on Saturday and Sunday mornings, the times when large numbers of cyclists are out and about. Spain’s Interior Ministry says there will be an additional 130,000 alcohol and drug checks on drivers out at these times and that tougher sanctions will be applied to wrongdoers, among them driving bans for anybody found to be over the limit for a second time in two years. Once those bans have been served, they will have to undergo psychological and physical assessment before being allowed back on the roads. For full story see: El País in English

Bicycle sales rise as number of accidents involving cyclists increases

May 14th
Over 1.1 million bicycles were bought by residents in Spain 2015 alone, outnumbering cars by 70,000. Figures for 2016 are not yet available, but expected to be similar or higher as residents take advantage of mild winters in the south and Mediterranean to get about without needing to be inside a heated car, and those in the colder north enjoy cool enough summers that they do not need to hang up their two-wheeled transport because it is too hot. But a complete State policy in favour of cyclists, covering infrastructure, accident prevention and air quality, is still at the draft phase, despite The Netherlands and the UK having had such programmes in place since 1990 and 1996 respectively, says Manuel Martín of the Bike Protection Coordinator (ConBici) (Full story on:ThinkSpain) . Meanwhile, the number of accidents on Spain’s non-urban roads involving cyclists doubled between 2009 and 2015: from 1,082 to 2,013. What’s more, the trend is reflected within cities, where over the same period the number of accidents grew from 2,387 to 5,173. At the same time, the number of people taken to hospital after a road accident involving bicycles rose from 489 in 2009 to 652 in 2015, a 33% increase. Full Story on: El País in English.

Unfilled jobs in a country with high unemployment

May 6th
A growing number of Spanish firms are reporting to their respective trade associations that they are not able to hire staff who meet their specific needs “There is an imbalance between supply and demand,” says Juan Carlos Tejera, the head of training at the CEOE, the association that represents the business community across Spain. It’s an imbalance that the business sector in 2014 predicted would leave more than 80,000 jobs unfilled in Spain over the coming years given the disconnect between the education system and the job market, and that could drag down productivity and competitiveness in the process. For full story see: El País in English

Record monthly drop in unemployment

May 6th
April has been a particularly good month for the Spanish job market. The number of people who filed jobless claims went down by 129,281, the biggest drop for a single month in the entire historical series. The previous record had been set in June 2013. The total number of people without a job now stands at 3.57 million. The unemployment rate in Spain is around 18.7%, down from the high of 27% in 2013, when the country was in the grip of a crippling economic crisis. Despite a recovery and good growth forecasts, Spain still has the second-highest jobless rate in the EU after Greece. For full story see: El Pais in English.

Bad weather results in 65% loss of cherry crop

May 6th
The recent wind and rain have damaged the early cherries in the Vall de Gallinera, causing them to split so they will not meet the standards for marketing internationally. About 65% of the crop is estimated to have been affected. These losses come as a huge blow, especially since the trees were laden with large cherries this year. Production will be limited to 300,000 kilos, far from the 1.2 million kilos recorded in 2016. There are still hopes that the late cherries varieties will provide a good crop. From: Las Provincias

Benitatxell promotes itself in a Dutch cycling magazine

May 6th
Councillor for Communication in Benitatxell, Myra van 't Hoff has been busy promoting the village as a sports tourist destination. This has borne fruit in that there was a four centre page spread about the municipality and the Puig Llorenca peak in the Dutch magazine "Cycling Live". The Netherlands has a huge following in this sport and adding some focus, Dutch cyclist, Tom Dumoulin, won the first stage of the Vuelta on the Puig Llorenca in 2015, and this peak will feature again as the end of a stage in the 2017 Vuelta on August 27th. From:Xabia al Dia

The danger of depopulation in the interior of the Marina Alta

May 2nd
Over the last 20 years the population of the region has grown from 127,977 inhabitants to 169,831. (once reaching close to 200,000, although it declines due to regulations that require foreign citizens to confirm their residence every two years.) However, in the interior there has been a decline in population. e.g. Castells de Castells (from 499 to 449 inhabitants), Vall d'Alcalà (from 186 1 171), Vall de Gallinera (from 682 to 582), Vall de Laguar 918 to 801) and the Vall d'Ebo (from 343 to 243). (Castell de Castells and Vall d'Ebo) are threatened with disappearance according to a report prepared by the Generalitat, which describes 72 municipalities under threat in the Valencian region. The regional Government is therefore thinking of a program ( la Agenda Valenciana Antidespoblament (Avant) to counteract this problem. From:La Marina Plaza.

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