National park status for Algar River is rejected

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A PROPOSAL to attribute special status to the Algar River and its environs has been rejected by the Generalitat (Valencia Regional Government). The proposal, promoted by Altea Council itself, demanded that national park status be given in order to avoid further degradation of the river by potential future development.

In addition, if it had been successful additional moneys would have been made available to fund its protection.

As it is, Valencia stated that the river’s current status as a wetland area (in its lower reaches) provides sufficient protection.

This was despite the proposal having the support of all the municipalities along the Algar’s 12 kilometre length, and being ratified by all parties at a plenary session held in Altea on March 31.

The river runs from its source in Guadalest and Bolulla, through Tarbena and Callosa d’en Sarria before reaching the sea at Altea.

The proposal would in effect have created a “green” corridor flanking the river along its entire length.

A spokesman for Altea said they were disappointed at the rejection by Valencia of their application, and claimed that Altea itself had no money to fund the necessary work to afford protection for the river.

“The river is (already) well protected”, said a source at Valencia’s Environmental Department. However, the concern expressed by all municipalities that border the river was that wetland protection enjoyed at the coastal extent of the Algar did nothing to protect its upper reaches, and their argument was that anything that adversely affected the inland stretch of the river would, as a natural consequence, also affect the lower wetlands.

With the formation of a new municipal government following the recent elections, there will now be a new application process to the Environment Department asking for a budgetary allowance to be made to help with the upkeep of the fragile wetland area, promised Altea’s interim mayor, Andres Ripoll.

This is despite Valencia stating that in 2011 there is no room in their budget for such funding. “Shock and surprise” was never the less the reaction of Sr. Ripoll to Valencia’s rejection of the plan.

Sr. Ripoll also complained that Valencia had not given the proposal due consideration, and had not allowed its proponents to submit additional supporting documentation.

By Paul Deed

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