Thursday, May 19

The TSJ shields the 10,000 protected hectares of Sierra Escalona

The sentence only recognizes to the PAU21 something that the declaration of protection of Escalona as Protected Landscape (approved in October 2018) did not come to question: the very exclusion of the lands of this urban development approved 15 years ago of those classified as “protected” . The court comes to say that the developer, which is developing its urban plan on 400 hectares in one of the best preserved areas of the place, could not claim to unprotect all the natural space only for one part. Against the judicial claim, the Generalitat’s lawyer had appeared to defend its own decision to shield the mountains and the dehesa, which also for 4 years has had its own team of environmental agents, with activities to disseminate the place, and with the intervention of conservationist and neighborhood collectives Friends of Sierra Escalona and Neighborhood Association of San Miguel Arcángel.

The spokesperson for Friends of Sierra Escalona, Miguel Angel Pavón, he valued the decision “positively” and valued the role of conservation groups in these procedures through their role in the causes opened by the promoters to unprotect the area. «It was not only a matter of the administration and companies. This shows the role of groups that have been fighting for the protection of Sierra Escalona for many years. He also recalled that the achievement of the figure of the Natural Park for this space is still missing, claimed for more than two decades, despite the fact that it was announced in 2006 and again in 2015. ASE believes that the Generalitat – and the Environment technicians – they do have the will to complete this process. Hence, the Natural Resources Management Plan (PORN) is already being addressed, although Pavón interprets that the Generalitat perceives the natural area, the southernmost in the Community, as “very far from Valencia.”

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The promoters that are part of PAU 21 paradoxically requested this lack of protection when the main advertising claim for promote their homes and their golf course it is precisely the unique place in which the urbanization is located. A promotion, with a single access restricted by private security, automatic fences and license plate control by video surveillance despite the fact that its roads are public and owned by the Orihuela City Council and which describes a buildable wedge in the heart of the mountains.

Its approval sparked a great controversy in the mid-2000s, which in part led to the moratorium process on the development of partial plans during the real estate boom and their subsequent protection, aided, of course, by the brick crisis.

The judicial resolution comes when the courts had already overthrown three other agri-property appeals with the same objective of annulling the decision of the Generalitat of 2018. The Supreme Court (TS) rejected the admission for processing of the cassation appeal filed by Southeast oranges and Ángel García Lorente against the judgment of the Valencian High Court that dismissed his appeal against the Protected Landscape of Escalona. With these court decisions, in addition to preventing the invalidity of the protection, a total of eight million square meters of land of high environmental value -826 hectares- in Sierra Escalona and its surroundings remain within the scope of the Landscape. Montepiedra Group he requested to remove 462 hectares from the Campoamor farm, the vast majority in Orihuela and a small part in Pilar, on the lands protected by the Generalitat closest to the coastline; Naranjas del Sureste and Ángel García Lorente, intended to exclude another 260 hectares at the foot of the shady area of ​​Escalona, ​​all in Orihuela and in Torremendo, in one of the best preserved areas of the Protected Landscape; and Lomas de Campoamor, requested that 104 hectares remain outside the scope of protection: 65 in San Miguel at the head of the Lobo ravine – an area that was plowed before dedicating itself to agricultural exploitation – and 39 in Pilar de la Horadada, next to the Campoamor farm. The companies maintained in the resource that the protection could prevent the activity that they exerted on those soils.

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However, the magistrates of the Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community (TSJCV), indicated that the Protected Landscape in no case does it prohibit those farms from continuing with their usual activity. They also alleged the lack of environmental values ​​of the land. The legal profession of the Generalitat and the ecologists recalled that they were included within the scope precisely because of their environmental value and that they added to the set of more than 10,000 protected hectares.

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