Sierra de Santa Pola plan applauded
By Alex Watkins ECOLOGISTS have given the thumbs up to the regional government’s official acknowledgement that the Sierra de Santa Pola meets the requirements to be declared a municipal nature reserve (PNM).
The south Alicante wetlands association (AHSA) was also pleased that the announcement proposed incorporating additional areas of municipallyowned land by the coast.
This had not been included in the town hall’s proposal but had been proposed by AHSA and another group, El Margallo, back in January.
At the time they noted that the sierra’s cliffs and areas facing the sea are also of great environmental value, and that the regional government had already proposed they should be protected in its PATIVEL coastal protection scheme.
The ecologists had also argued that granting official protection to the sierra is the only way to stop hunting in the area, as once the PNM is declared it would be possible to stop renewing hunting permits which are granted annually.
They noted that regional law allows hunting by anyone with a permit on any land that is not a private estate or a protected natural space, which they argue is ‘a legal and environmental aberration’.
AHSA argued that hunting has more negative effects on the environment than any other activity that takes place in the sierra, and is furthermore incompatible with most of the activities that regular users of the area engage in, such as sport, walking and cycling.
“It is a source of conflict between the hunters and residents who come to this natural space,” they assured.
The next step is for the town hall to approve a detailed report about how the PNM will be organised and managed, which must also be submitted to the regional environment department.
“We hope the PNM declaration does not take too long and that sooner rather than later this valuable space will be free of hunting, an activity that has a significant environmental impact and which restricts enjoyment of the sierra for the vast majority of visitors,” added an AHSA spokesman.
There is a network of footpaths in the Sierra de Santa Pola