Elche rules to protect natural environments

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CONSERVATION: Law to protect flora and fauna

ELCHE has introduced a new local law as part of its municipal ordinance, which restricts access to and use of the natural areas that surround the city, including the Clot de Galvany.

The new law is said to be in the interests of environmental conservation, imposing strict rules and limiting access. The law prevents access at night, camping and from entering breeding areas with pets, a particularly serious infringement, while in some areas they are allowed but must be muzzled and on a leash no longer than one metre. It also prevents eating and drinking outside of designated areas and smoking. Visitors may only access the parks on foot and are prohibited from running.

Shouting has also been banned, users being asked to keep their voices at a normal level in order as to not disturb the wildlife. Feeding wildlife and collecting specimens of the fauna is also prohibited, including flowers. “The law aims to ensure orderly public use of the town’s natural areas and is consistent with the preservation of the natural geology, flora and fauna, to minimise environmental effects,” said Antonio Garcia (Compromis), who is the newly elected Councillor for Environmental Stability.

Garcia has also stated that although laws are already in place for other natural areas including the parks of El Hondo and Las Salinas, the council will be reviewing them in the long term as well to consider and reduce human impact. He said: The law reflects the importance that should be given to the protection of these areas, of which there are few and very valuable, and are home to endangered species,” adding that he does not believe the areas are given the respect they deserve.

Infringements are punishable with fines of up to €600 for serious infractions, and perpetrators may even be given community service, within the natural spaces themselves. The department has a number of park wardens who are dedicated to monitoring the areas and will be on hand to advise visitors, as well as ensuring that people comply with the regulations.

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