Yesterday it was reported that a Spanish building promotor in Avila had begun demolishing forests and clearing land to carry out a massive building project without even having obtained a water license. This means that the construction company will be unable to guarentee water supply to possible property buyers.
Not only have an estimated 6700 trees been cut down in an ecologically sensitive area near Villanueva de Gómez (Ávila) in order to clear land for the construction work but the construction company in charge has no way of supplying the 7,500 homes it is planning to build with water because it has been denied a water license.
According to the article published in El País yesterday, despite the lack of license, the regional government of Castilla y León, run by the PP (Spain’s main opposition party), has given authorisation to the construction company to go ahead with building 3 golf courses (at a cost of a further 10,000 trees) ignoring technical reports that said the plans were absurd and without justification.
The local water authorities has revoked the water license on the grounds of the water table in this area being contaminated by arsenic. The present population of Villanueva de Gómez which number only 156 inhabitants is currently supplied with water by lorries and its inhabitants drink only bottled water. In June 2005, the construction company was awarded the rights to 771,363 cubic metres of water per year which was in addition to the 180,000 cubic metres that it already had which meant that the company had enough water to start work. However, it falls well short of the 2.5 million cubic metres of water required per year to supply the 22,000 inhabitants which could be living in ‘La Favera’ within a few years with water.
Furthermore, the area in question is important ecologically because it provides a habitat for a lot of wildlife including imperial eagles which are an endangered species in Spain.
Because a building permit was granted to the previous owners of the land over 25 years ago ,the permission to build homes there was given without the need for an environmental survey although ecological groups such as SEO/Birdlife together with Comisiones Obreras insist that it is necessary. Large parts of the area have already been prepared for construction work with many zones already under tarmac and, according to environmental groups up to 10,000 trees have already been felled.
According to the article, the construction company intends to go ahead with its plans to build the homes and golf courses despite the lack of water and despite the looming housing market crisis in Spain.