Guadalest Val­ley may­ors unite to save their trees

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Shel­ley Liddell

THE MAY­ORS of Guadalest, Ben­i­man­tell, Polop, Con­frides, Be­niardá, Benifato and Bolulla have united to try to stop the re­gional agri­cul­tural au­thor­i­ties wip­ing out al­mond plan­ta­tions that have tested pos­i­tive for Xylella bac­te­ria.

In a let­ter ad­dressed to the re­gional agri­cul­tural de­part­ment, they said they were ex­tremely wor­ried about the sit­u­a­tion of the crops in the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and the way the De­part­ment was or­der­ing af­fected and sur­round­ing plan­ta­tions to be de­stroyed.

They are wor­ried that this would sig­nify a great eco­nomic loss for the area, as well as ad­versely af­fect the pic­turesque land­scape that at­tracts tourists to visit there.

The ex­tremely dam­ag­ing bac­te­ria, which can kill any type of tree, was first de­tected in Guadalest last month in al­mond trees. The whole grove was wiped out com­pletely, trees up­rooted and trit­u­rated, and the area in a ra­dius of 10 kms was put un­der spe­cial ob­ser­va­tion.

The may­ors sug­gest that the agri­cul­tural de­part­ment should act in the same way as their coun­ter­part in the Balearic Is- lands, where all move­ment of plants on the is­land was pro­hib­ited, but trees were not de­stroyed. They have also asked the au­thor­i­ties to do new tests on af­fected trees.

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing a group of farm­ers and pro­tes­tors went to an­other al­mond grove in Guadalest lo­cated near the one that was flat­tened in or­der to stop heavy machin­ery from de­stroy­ing the trees.

This grove was to be de­stroyed as a pre­cau­tion to con­tain the ad­vance of the Xylella bac­te­ria. Work was due to com­mence at 19.00, but it started an hour early, so 10 trees had been up­rooted by the time the pro­tes­tors ar­rived. Even so, they man­aged to get the work­ers to halt the de­struc­tion for the time be­ing un­til an agri­cul­tural de­part­ment tech­ni­cian or rep­re­sen­ta­tive ap­pears in per­son with a writ­ten de­struc­tion or­der.

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