Greenpeace slams Spain for sacrificing its coast to “savage urban development”

Another year, another depressing report from the environmental group Greenpeace highlighting the sorry state of a Spanish coastal environment after years of mindless urban development.

In its annual report on the environmental damage wreaked on the Spanish coast, entitled ‘Destrucción a Toda Costa’ (Destruction at all Coasts), Greenpeace points the finger at Andalucia, The Valencian Region, Murcia, and the Canaries as being the worst ‘abusers’ of the coastal environment.

“Savage urban development” is the main cause of environmental degradation on the Spanish coast, though corruption is also to blame. According to Greenpeace, there were 67 new cases of urban planning corruption on the Spanish coast last year, with around 500 people implicated, 37% of them public officials.

“In recent years the Spanish coast has suffered a brutal onslaught of construction by an industry solely interested in short term profits, leaving us a legacy of thousands of empty properties, and a dependency on capricious tourism now abandoning Spain in favour of other destinations,” says the report.

The current property market downturn might give what is left of Spain’s coastal environment a breather from the cement mixers, but Greenpeace is sceptical. It warns that town halls have already earmarked land for another 3 million properties on the coast, which Greenpeace calls a “latent threat”.

In the report, Greenpeace lists what it considers to be the top ten environmental blackspots on the Spanish coast: El Algarrobico (Almería), el puerto de Tarifa (Cádiz), el Polo Químico de Huelva, el Delta del Ebro, Marina d’Or (Castellón), el Manhattan de Cullera, el puerto deportivo de Pasajes (Guipúzcoa), la ría de Vigo (Pontevedra), el puerto de Granadilla (Tenerife) and el Marina de Cope, in Águilas (Murcia).


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