Councillor for Structuring, Planning and Housing Maria José Salvador has established a one-year moratorium on the approval of development plans involving redevelopment of land, undeveloped land and land being developed within 500 metres of the coast between Vinaroz and Pilar de la Horadada.
The measure, which does not affect urban land, provides protection for 43 million square metres or 4,300 hectares that have no protection at present, forming part of the Action Plan of the Territorial Coastal Green Infrastructure initiative in the Valencian Community (Pativel).
It has been brought in to protect the coastline and ensure that development projects enhance the coastal landscape of the 60 municipalities where 2.7 million people between Alicante, Valencia and Castellon live, a population density of 850 inhabitants per square kilometre.
The council has justified the need to protect the area, which, according to the head of urbanism, has been devastated in the last 20 years, with development within the first 10 kilometres of coastline being 3.5 times higher than the actual population growth. According to Salvador: “This fact is an obvious symptom of misguided policies that have been carried out in recent years. If nothing is done urgently, within 10 years the entire coastal strip that is unprotected by environmental legislation and the cityscape in general will become totally depersonalised, a complete conurbation, becoming unattractive to investors and tourism.”
The area is important financially, since it is estimated that 15 per cent of Valencia’s GDP comes from within the 500-metre strip from the shore, with ports, tourism, fishing all predominant. It has a high environmental value since at least 10 national parks are located within the zone, including 90 per cent of the region’s most important wetlands and 23 sites of community interest. At least 70 per cent of the population live within 10 kilometres of the coast. In order to be sustainable, the protection of the zone is critical.
The Serra Grossa in Alicante has been declared a priority area in the plan that affects the whole community. The council plans to create a public green area of 65,000 square metres that connects the avenue Salazar through the Serra Grossa to the esplanade. Trees will be planted to create shady areas.
The project, which will start next year, also proposes 190 parking spaces for easy access to the Serra Grossa and the sea.