Sierra de Santa Pola plan ap­plauded

Costa Levante News - - NEWS -

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

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