One third of beach bars in Andalucia probably illegal

by admin
beach bar chiringuito

According to the Spanish government, Andalucia has permitted dozens of beach bars, which are actually illegal. The central government indicates that many beachside chiringuitos have been unlawfully placed along the coastline.

Nearly a third of the 500 beach bars spread across Andalucia’s thousand-kilometre coastline do not comply with the rules. According to the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition, coastal legislation and the criteria for occupation of the maritime public domain are being violated. More than half of the 163 possibly illegal beach bars are in the province of Malaga. The Spanish central government has challenged 32 permits in court.

Discrepancy between government of Andalucia and Central Government

The many illegal chiringuitos give an idea of the discrepancy between the central and regional government over the management of the coastline. In many cases, however, there appears to be negligence on the part of the Andalucian government. The central government has noticed this and has taken legal action. A solution has now been found for a number of cases. However, Andalucia also defends itself and indicates that the responsibility lies with the region, regardless of the criteria of the central ministry.

Andalucia claims it respects the rules

According to the Andalucian ministry, the regional government has always respected central government regulations when justified. This concerns rules regarding the guarantee, integrity or use of the maritime public domain. However, Andalucia admits that it applies its own criteria for other aspects.

The chairman of the Association for Beach Entrepreneurs of Andalucia does not think there is much room for freedom. “There are strict controls. As soon as a beach tent takes up more space than allowed, it will immediately be in the newspaper. Anyone guilty of this will be dealt with or fined.”

Many violations, especially in Malaga

The issue of beach use is sensitive in Andalucia and especially in the Malaga region and the Costa del Sol. The Ministry of Ecological Transition admits that there are a “large number of files” of illegal practices involving beach bars in this region. In Malaga there are 72, followed by Huelva with 37. Marbella, with 16 cases, and the city of Malaga, with 12, top the list.

Cogesa Expats

The ministry pays attention to two aspects: the effect on the environment and the public use of the maritime public domain. If these two aspects cannot be guaranteed or if the regulations are not complied with, a beach tent will not be granted a permit.

Andalucia is flexible in granting permits

There are three legal obligations for beach bars that are frequently violated:

  • Perform a function or service that requires a building to be located on the beach.
  • The building may not be located too close to the sea due to possible damage during high water
  • Comply with the legally established number of square metres for buildings on the beach.
  • The Junta de Andalucía appears to apply the rules much more loosely than the central government considers desirable and legal.

Beach bars of enormous economic importance for Andalucia

Although the beach tents are under fire from ecologists, flexible compliance with the coastal regulation also has another side. From an economic point of view, the importance of beach tents is enormous. Beach bars are an important source of income. In 2023, it generated almost €13 million for the state, of which more than €9 million came from the province of Malaga. Since Andalucia took over coastal management, these revenues have almost quadrupled.

Serious consequences for nature conservation along the coast

Andalucia regards the chiringuitos as an essential pillar for the coastal economy. In 2019 it was decided to legalise many illegal beach bars. According to ecologists, this lax attitude has major negative consequences for the conservation of the coast. They believe that beaches are more threatened than ever by erosion and flooding and believe urgent action is needed.

Ecologists file a report

Meanwhile, the Junta de Andalucía does not seem to care much about this. The Ecologistas en Acción movement has therefore recently filed a complaint with the Public Prosecution Service against a number of high-ranking officials at the Andalucian ministry. It discusses abuse of office, infringement of spatial planning and abuse of power through systematic disregard of the law and the confusing division of powers.

Also read: Modern chiringuitos on the Costa del Sol harmful to the beach

You may also like