A third of costas covered by concrete jungle

14th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

14 June 2006, MADRID — Spain's costas are being eaten up by an urban jungle fuelled by the country's housing boom, a new report has found.

14 June 2006

MADRID — Spain's costas are being eaten up by an urban jungle fuelled by the country's housing boom, a new report has found.

The report by the government-backed Observatory on Sustainability says the number of homes in Spain is the highest per person in Europe  at one house per two people.

But, the report says, the price of homes has not fallen despite this massive glut of building.

In fact, prices have gone up by 150 percent in the past eight years.

There are 18.1 houses built every year per thousand people, compared with the European average of 5.7.

Yet young people and low-income families cannot take advantage of this high number of homes as prices remain outside of their reach.

The number of foreigners buying houses has pushed prices artificially high.

The environmental impact of the building boom has also been dramatic, particularly on coastal areas, the report said.

The dramatic increase in the numbers of golf courses, villas and urbanisations have meant that 30 percent of Spain's costas have been built on.

This figure rises to 47 percent in provinces like Malaga.

Satellite photos taken between 1987-2000, the time over which the report was based, show the urban sprawl has spread at a rate of three hectares per day.

In 2000, the amount of Spanish land which had been built on was 2.1 percent, but if no action is taken this figure could rise to 20 percent in 2010.

Luis Jimenez, director of the Observatory, said: "Unsustainable economic development today could become unbearable tomorrow."

Environment minister Cristina Narbona said: "Since 2000 the situation has only got worse. Urgent action is needed."  

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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