The draft law on coasts, which was submitted by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Nutrition and Environment Miguel Arias Cañete to the Congress of Deputies, has caused angry reactions by environmentalists and the parliamentary opposition.
The draft law aims at loosening the existing coastal legislation, in order to “support coastal protection with economic sustainability”, according to the words of Minister Cañete. The Minister also expressed his hope that the draft law will be approved by the Congress and will be submitted to the Senate in April or May, for final
According to WWF Spain, the law proposed by the Government violates specific provisions of the EU’s legislation on water (Directive 2000/60/EC), urban waste treatment (Directive 91/271/EEC), and public participation and access to information on the environment (Directive 2003/4/EC). On these grounds, WWF Spain submitted to the European Commission a complaint for infringement of EU law. The law also pardons thousands of illegal buildings from demolition.
The Spanish coastline suffers from extensive encroachment and unsustainable construction activity, primarily for tourism infrastructures and holiday housing. According to ecological groups, such as Greenpeace, coastal mismanagement costs Spain more than €100 million annually and results in the destruction of an average of 7.7 hectares of littoral area per day.