Spanish government has comprehensive plan to protect nature

by Lorraine Williamson
raise awareness to protect nature

The government plans a comprehensive reform to protect Spain’s nature in this decade, according to the draft Strategic Plan for Natural Heritage and Biodiversity 2030 

The plan proposes, among other things;

  • complete closure of mink farms
  • release of cetaceans into aquariums and dolphinariums
  • an end to the use of lead ammunition in hunting
  • planting of 120 million trees
  • a new way of life.  

Analysing Spain’s resources 

The draft analyses the state of Spain’s natural resources. Moreover, it concludes that they are in decline and under serious threat, especially in recent decades. This is the last so that they have been in sharp decline over the last few decades. 973 wildlife species are threatened, representing 1.43% of all wildlife species in Spain. The list will grow to protect more animals. By 2030, at least 40% of extinct species must be recovered throughout the natural environment, through programmes to reintroduce priority and endangered species to historic areas where they have disappeared.  

Furthermore, cetacean captivity centres will be phased out. From 2023, the breeding or relocation of species will be prohibited and the conditions of the available space and the characteristics of their aquatic habitat will have to be improved.  

Awareness among citizens to help protect nature

Also, the Action Plan for Environmental Education for Sustainability (PAEAS) will promote the development of actions to educate citizens and increase their environmental awareness. 

Protected areas 

The government plans to designate eight new marine protected areas in the Natura 2000 network between 2023 and 2024. By 2030, 30% of Spanish waters should be protected. 

Other measures 

Furthermore, the use of the most dangerous pesticides should be halved to protect nature. The promotion of organic farming and cattle breeding, which will cover an area of 25% in this decade. It is also proposed to adopt a list of companion animals in 2023 that will restrict the keeping of animals whose environmental and health safety has been proven. A new regulation for breeders of wild animal species will also be adopted in that year. As part of the goal to combat invasive species, the government will phase out mink farms. This should also be completed by 2030 at the latest. The government is also conducting campaigns to eradicate feral populations of this species.  

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Measures against the illegal use of poisoned bait in the wild are being reviewed and updated, and measures to protect birds from collision and electrocution by high-voltage power lines are being amended.  

One of the most important proposed changes is to upgrade existing power lines and to change the regulations. By 2030, all hazardous lines will be appropriately upgraded to the revised regulations. 

There needs to be more regulation of waste containing microplastics in the fisheries, ports, shipping and tourism sectors. The use of lead in both fishing tackle and big game hunting will be banned throughout Spain, and this ban will be extended to small game hunting and shooting by 2030.  

Subsidies and funding 

Another measure included in the strategy is a review by 2025 of subsidies and incentives that harm natural heritage and biodiversity. By 2025, they will be halved and by 2030, all subsidies and incentives will be neutral or positive for natural heritage and biodiversity.  

The construction sector is also addressed; by 2024 the government wants to take measures to ensure that at least 1% of the public works budget is used to finance actions that contribute to the conservation of natural heritage and biodiversity and to their sustainable use. Finally, the composition, functions and rules of the Spanish Council for Natural Heritage and Biodiversity also need to be reviewed. 

Also read: Ten majestic trees part of Spain´s natural heritage

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