PUERTO DEL ROSARIO – Authorities in the Canary Islands have come together to tackle a serious problem in Fuerteventura: the illegal supply of holiday homes on agricultural land.
More than 500 illegal structures, including merchant ship containers, caravans and prefabricated houses, have been identified by the Environmental Inspectorate, according to Lola García, the president of Fuerteventura’s Cabildo (island council). Some of them were even offered as holiday homes.
The Government (Cabildo) of Fuerteventura, the Government of the Canary Islands and the island’s six municipalities have drawn up an action plan to stop the spread of unapproved installations. These installations are in conflict with both environmental legislation and spatial planning. Furthermore, they pose a threat to the island’s natural values and biodiversity.
The threat of illegal construction
Environmental officers have identified more than 500 illegal structures of various types across the island. These illegal structures, ranging from containers to holiday homes, are a direct attack on the island’s landscape and way of life, according to García. She emphasises the need for coordinated action by all relevant authorities to immediately put an end to these illegal practices.
Consequences for the environment and landscape
Manuel Miranda points out the concerns of the municipalities and the Cabildo about the spread of containers and other illegal installations. These constructions not only pose a health and habitability risk, but also have a significant impact on the environment and the landscape, which is unacceptable for an area like Fuerteventura.
Information campaigns and sanctions
In parallel, the Cabildo will launch an information campaign on prohibitions and violations related to this type of land, classified according to the Law on Land and Protected Natural Areas of the Canary Islands. Violations can lead to fines of up to €150,000. Unauthorised construction on agricultural land is also classified in the Organic Criminal Code.
300 open sanction files
According to COPE, this problem affects most municipalities of Majorero, but especially La Oliva, Puerto del Rosario and Tuineje. The first cases date from 2015, almost ten years ago, but have increased significantly over the years, to the point that there are already 300 sanction files open, containing fines of up to €150,000.