Pernicious “Ley de Costas” coastal law one step closer to reform

Ley de Costas - an arbitrary boundary?

Ley de Costas – an arbitrary boundary?

The 1988 Ley de Costas (coastal law) will be marginally better and make some concessions to innocent victims once the reforms just approved by the Cabinet go through.

Regular readers will know I take a pretty dim view of Spain’s Ley de Costas, or coastal law, introduced in 1988 to protect the coast from over-development, something it spectacularly failed to do. What it has achieved is to confiscate the property of innocent victims with no compensation, whilst making the law look an ass.

At least the present Government recognises that the Ley de Costas needs to be reformed. The Cabinet has just approved proposed reforms, the highlights of which are providing better information through the land register, giving the Government more power over town halls, and extending, from 30 years to 75 years, the concessions of use granted to innocent victims whose properties have been confiscated without compensation. It also creates 4-year renewable concessions for thousands of chiringuitos or beach bars, many of which would otherwise need to be removed.

The Ley de Costas was introduced in 1988 with 30-year concessions granted to owners of the tens of thousands of homes made illegal by the new law. By extending the concessions of use from 30 years to 75 years, this reform will put off the specter of mass demolitions in just 6 years’ time. But I doubt they will ever carry out mass demolitions: Today’s politicians are just kicking the can down the road.

The reform also claims it will make the Ley de Costas seem less arbitrary, and avoid situations like the image above, which shows how the border between public and private land goes out of its way to favour some owners and not others.

You can see a full presentation prepared by the Cabinet office (in Spanish) of the proposed reforms here.

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