Vir­gin beach plan anger

Scheme in­cludes con­struct­ing car parks, walk­ways and pic­nic area

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News - [email protected]­news.es

By Alex Watkins ECOL­O­GISTS have pre­sented ob­jec­tions to a project to re­store the en­vi­ron­ment at El Sal­adar de Agua Amarga beach, which stands be­tween the run­ways of Ali­cante-Elche air­port and the sea.

The scheme in­cludes widen­ing a prom­e­nade, con­struct­ing sev­eral as­phalted car parks, a pic­nic area, three­me­tre high lamp posts and an 800-me­tre-long walk­way along the dune cur­tain par­al­lel to the sea.

The plan from the na­tional coast de­part­ment (Costas) af­fects the last vir­gin beach in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Along with the ad­ja­cent salt lakes, the area forms part of the re­gion’s cat­a­logue of pro­tected wet­lands and was the first beach in Spain to al­low dogs into the sea in the sum­mer.

The friends of the south Ali­cante wet­lands as­so­ci­a­tion (AHSA) ex­pressed their ‘dis­ap­point­ment’ af­ter sev­eral years of pe­ti­tion­ing Costas to take ac­tion to stop ve­hi­cles cross­ing the sand dunes, ‘which have re­ally strug­gled to sur­vive this long’.

They have called for the most dras­tic mea­sures in the plan to be dropped, in­clud­ing pour­ing large amounts of sand onto the dunes to re­gen­er­ate them.

“Not only does it make no sense to in­clude these ac­tions in an en­vi­ron­men­tal re­gen­er­a­tion project, their im­pact would be in­com­pat­i­ble with the eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion that is sup­posed to be the point of this project,” as­serted an AHSA spokesman.

They called it a ‘step back­wards’ com­pared with the ‘very re­spect­ful’ treat­ment of the sand dunes in Elche and Guardamar del Se­gura by the pre­vi­ous min­istry for the en­vi­ron­ment.

Un­der this man­age­ment, the au­thor­i­ties were re­stricted to re­plant­ing veg­e­ta­tion, in­stalling walk­ways to the beaches and or­gan­is­ing the car parks but not as­phalt­ing them.

“Agua Amarga salt marsh and its coast­line are en­vi­ron­men­tally very valu­able so any ac­tion there must pre­serve and strengthen this, and it is un­ac­cept­able to pour a sin­gle cu­bic me­tre more of con­crete onto the coast, es­pe­cially in an ex­tremely frag­ile and rel­a­tively small nat­u­ral space like Playa del Sal­adar,” ar­gued the ecol­o­gists.

They also ac­cused the sta­te­owned tap water sup­ply com­pany, the Man­co­mu­nidad de Canales del Taibilla, of re­peat­edly fail­ing to keep the salt lake flooded.

It is obliged to do so to com­pen­sate for the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the de­sali­na­tion plant be­ing ex­tended.

Agua Amarga was the first beach in Spain to al­low dogs into the sea in the sum­mer

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