Spain’s Ombudsman, known as ‘El Defensor del Pueblo’, has joined in the chorus of criticism of the Valencian region’s twisted urban planning practices.
The Defensor del Pueblo is an ombudsman nominated by the Spanish parliament to defend the rights of citizens against government maladministration. In the ombudsman’s annual report for 2007, Valencia’s urban planning administration is slammed for its lack of control and environmental damage.
In particular, the Valencian government is criticised for ignoring environmental concerns, for not taking into account water resources when evaluating planning schemes, and for failing to act against illegal construction. It was not, however, explicitly criticised for its shameful ‘land grab’ laws that have ruined the lives of innocent owners, and received so much opprobrium from the European Parliament.
In the government of the Valencian Community, one single department is responsible for the environment, water, urban development, and housing. If the department responsible for protecting the environment is also responsible for the construction sector, it’s hardly surprising that environment is being left to fend for itself.
Water, or the lack of it, is going to be a big problem in years to come for the endless, drab urbanisations that have been built in dry regions like Valencia and Murcia.