“Long process” of weather damage repairs underway

PROMISE: The Balearic president said the regional administration is committed to the complete restoration of the affected zone CREDIT: Govern Illes Balear Noticias

WHAT the Balearic president described as the “long process” of repairing the damage in the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains from the extreme weather which hit Mallorca at the end of August is underway.

Francina Armengol visited the area on Wednesday to see first-hand the start of the works being carried out under the management of the regional Environment and Territory ministry in the wake of the storms, which particularly affected Banyalbufar, Valldemossa and Esporles

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Joining her were the regional Environment and Territory minister Miquel Mir, the Natural Spaces and Biodiversity director general Llorenç Mas; IBANAT Balearic Nature Institute head Joan Ramon and the mayors of the three localities.

Armengol explained that this first phase in concentrating on the most urgent actions.

“Although the complete restoration of the zone will be a long process, the government will maintain its commitment to the end”, she promised.

She made a point of thanking the willingness of the councils to work in collaboration with the regional Environment and Public Administrations ministries to move forward on the Balearic administration’s request to the Spanish government on September 7 to declare the area a seriously affected zone by weather.

She said this would mean more direct assistance for those affected.

The €280,000 worth of works will cover an area of just over 31 hectares in Port des Canonge, Urbanización Nova Valldemossa and the Son Cabaspre area.

Mir reported that much of the work will centre on the urban-forest boundary. Also on zones where there is a particular fire risk and near to roads and tracks.

He stressed this is only “the first of a series of actions which we must carry out to address the serious damage caused by the storm”, whether the State approves the declaration of a seriously affected zone or not.

It is estimated that the extreme weather on August 29 affected a total of 736 hectares in Banyalbufar, Valldemossa and Esporles, of which 638 are forest in the Sierra de Tramuntana Natural Park. Some 300,000 trees suffered some kind of damage.

The Balearic administration said the declaration of actions as an emergency was justified by the need to urgently address the environmental damage, limit the serous risk in forested areas created by the destruction of forested land, and in particular to guarantee the safe public use of natural areas.

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