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Environment vs development

Environment vs development

Preserving the environment versus “development”

Environment is the pending subject for the human beings.

On May 25th, the Balearic Islands government approved new regulations that radically reduce the possibility of building single-family homes on rustic land on the islands.

The regulation completely prohibits the construction of homes on protected rural land (flooding, forest, landscape interest, maritime interest …) and reduces from 1500 m3 to 900 m3 the maximum volume allowed for a single-family home on rural land unless it is linked to a farm.  Likewise, the maximum size of the swimming pools is also reduced to a maximum of 35 m2 and 60 m3. The projects submitted to the municipal urbanistic departments will be implemented following the ancient regulations.

“Determinations regarding the implementation of new buildings and uses on certain rural land

  1. New isolated single-family homes cannot be located on land that is included within the Risk Prevention Areas (RPA) for erosion, landslides, fire and flooding, unless they are linked to agricultural operations and in accordance with the specific legislation.
  2. Notwithstanding the provisions of the previous section, in those plots of land partially included in the Risk Prevention Areas (SRP-APR), uses, buildings or facilities may be authorised in accordance with the territorial plan or planning, provided that the building is not located on the surface of the plot of land included within the aforementioned area. For the purposes of minimum plot, buildability, occupation, maximum volume and other building parameters, the area to be considered will be the entire plot.


Building conditions regarding the use of single-family dwellings on rustic land

  1. The following building parameters are applicable to buildings intended for use as single-family dwellings on rural land, provided that this use is not prohibited, according to the different categories included in the corresponding Island Territorial Plan:
  2. a) Maximum buildable area, expressed in square metres of roof, which may not exceed the following percentages of plot

– In the Natura 2000 Network and protected rural land that is a Rural Area of Landscape Interest (SRP-ARIP): 1%

– In the rest of the categories of rustic land: 1.5%

(b) The maximum percentage of the plot that can be occupied for building and other construction elements is

– In Natura 2000 Network, SRP-ARIP: 1.5%.

– In the rest of the categories of rustic land: 2%.

  1. c) Maximum volume of the whole building, in any category of rustic land: 900 m3.


Water saving measures

  1. The construction projects of buildings on rustic land, except those linked to agricultural operations that will be governed by specific legislation, must provide for the collection of rainwater from the roofs for reuse in the needs of the building and/or the property.
  2. The use of a single-family dwelling on rustic land may not give rise to the construction of more than one swimming pool per property. The sheet of water mirror of the new swimming pools in rustic soil cannot exceed thirty-five (35) m2 and its volume, sixty (60) m3.”


These measures are taken in an effort to preserve the environment, protect the rural and natural environment and restore the agricultural character that the Islands have lost.

The importance of protecting the environment is understood, but how can this be done in a territory that lives mostly from tourism and where living off the land has become increasingly difficult? It is true that these measures open up questions about the immediate future of so many small landowners who may see the value of their property affected, but they are aimed at protecting the environment for the good of all.


In any case, at an individual level, it is very important to be aware of the importance of protecting the environment, starting with recycling, using rainwater, reducing the emission of pollutants by reducing the use of cars, planes, boats, etc… producing less rubbish, consuming less plastic, not littering beaches, fields, etc…


In the face of restrictive policies, our first reaction is to protest, but let us reflect on what we really need for living and what we damage the environment with the standard of living we have.

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