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The Environment 1 – Developers 0


Cork oak forest in the Alcornocales Nature reserve in Andalucia
The Alcornocales National Park in Cádiz province is one of the most beautiful wildernesses in Andalucía and is often called the last Mediterranean forest.  It’s known for its cork oaks and wildlife and magnificent views over the Straits of Gibraltar to Africa.  So it is good news that the regional government in Andalucía is moving to protect the environment in this special place. It has moved to block the development of the Almoraima estate, 90% of which is inside Alcornocales.   Almoraima was part of the Rumasa conglomerate of José María Ruiz Mateos and expropriated by the government in 1983 in lieu of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.

The government is keen to sell it.   A deal is underway to sell to a group of investors with plans to develop a luxury hunting, polo and golf resort, including an aerodrome and 5* hotel, on the 10% of the estate outside the National Park.  

Both the regional government and the local authority in Castellar de la Frontera oppose the development proposal and moves have started to extend the Alcornocales National Park so that the entirety of Almoraima falls within its boundaries.  While this action won’t automatically prevent the sale of the estate, for a reported figure in the region of €300 million, it is hoped that it will be an effective deterrent to potential investors.

Spain’s reputation as one of the worst offenders when it comes to concreting over coast and countryside is well-known so this attempt to protect the environment from yet more development is very welcome.

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