Regulations governing the Montgó

Regulations governing the Montgó prohibit new discotheques and hotels and demand the closure of the rubbish tips.

From Levante on-line 15 January 2006 – translated by Maggie Morgan

The PRUG (Plan Rector de Uso y Gestión or Governing Plan for Use and Management) authorises the romerías of Santa Lucia, the Mare de Déu dels Àngels, Pòpul and Pare Pere. Electrical cables should be buried and electricity pylons eliminated because of danger to birds.

The Governing Plan will be a type of handbook of both permitted and unauthorised activities on the Montgó. The summary document distributed to the town halls and social services indicates that “the construction of new hotels, discotheques, commercial centres, car dumps, storage and custody of caravans or boats, launch pads for microlights or any other activity which has not been expressly permitted by the current document will not be allowed in the whole area of the natural park and in the surrounding area to soften impact”.

It is noted that in the natural park, in the Les Planes area of Jávea, a discotheque has been operational for many years. In addition, in el Bisserot in Dénia the construction of a large hotel has been permitted. Among activities not permitted are the cutting and picking of wild plant species. Pollinating apiculture is permitted in any part of the park, however beehives for the production of honey must be on agricultural land or in existing colonies.

The directive proposes that “strict monitoring” should be carried out over the practices of population control of wild boar and fox. Hunting will not be automatically authorised and it will be necessary for an organisation competent in hunting matters to provide evidence “in a detailed report” of the damage done by the animals which it is proposed to cull.

It also specifically prohibits the exploitation by intensive tourism of the caves on the Montgó. In addition, an inventory of the caves and potholes in the natural park should be carried out. Any movements of earth in the ambit of the PRUG will have to be subject to a favourable report from an organisation competent in matters of natural spaces. However, any activity which would cause intense erosion is already prohibited in advance. Neither is the dismantling or demolishing of buildings or structures of historical or archaeological interest permitted.

The document is very strict with regard to measures to avoid forest fires. In fact, it prohibits the construction of new ´paelleros´ or paella cook-sites in any part of the natural park and lays down very strict conditions for those already existing in private houses. In addition, in the municipalities in the area of the PRUG, agricultural burning is not permitted during July, August, September and Easter Week.

With regard to hiking, its practice is limited to fixed itineraries within the natural park. Trekking and excursions carried out by groups of less than 15 people do not require advance authorisation.

The PRUG permits the “romarías” of the hermitage of Santa Lúcia and the sanctuary of the Mare de Déu dels Ángels (both in Jávea), “given their traditional character”. However, it is proposed that throwing individual or strings of firecrackers will not be allowed. In addition, as the “romarías” of the hermitage of the Mare de Déu of Pópul (Jàvea) and the hermitage of Pare Pere (Dénia) are both held within the boundaries of the natural park, they must implement precautionary measures and respect the natural surroundings.

Risks on the Montgó

The future governing plan for the Montgó will also define the principal threats to the protected space. In the summary document it already talks of ´human frequency´ which assumes a ´very high level´ of urbanisation in the municipalities surrounding the Montgó and the fact that this natural park is one of the most important tourist zones on the Valencian coast.

It also mentions the risk of "fragmentation of the environment" which could result from converting the Montgó into an isolated natural space. The solution is to promote its ecological connections (the river Gorges, Bisserot and the Barranco of l´Hedra) with other natural areas.

The preview of the governing plan calls for the closure of all the illegal or seasonal rubbish dumps in the area of the PRUG (in fact already prohibited) but leaves aside the special plan of Caragusses of Dénia and asks for checks on the possible impact of the transfer plant at La Xara.

Another important aspect is vigilance in areas where construction is permitted that the materials used suit the natural surroundings. The PRUG also advocates the promotion of models of ´gentle urban development´ and the vigilance that chalets are not constructed in the agricultural zones. In addition, it demands that all residual wastes be purified, thus avoiding its overspill into the sea or filtration of the subsoil.

Among other threats, it also warns of the high risk posed to birds by the existence of electricity pylons (above all in Les Planes). In fact, the electricity cables in the natural park should be buried.

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