“Excessive urban development” around the Balearic and Mediterranean coastline is partly to blame for the extent of the damage caused over the weekend by the storms. According to Greenpeace Spain in Palma, while the weather was not “excessively fierce, excessive urban development along the Balearic and Spanish coastline was the principal reason for the high costs of damage caused by flooding and winds over the past few days. “The management of Spain's coastlines needs to be completely revised,” the environmental organisation said. Greenpeace said that millions of pesetas are wasted every year in beach regeneration projects, as soon as the areas get hit by high winds, the beaches of artificial and imported sand disappear. “Each year some 17 million pesetas per kilometres are spent on beach regeneration, but events of the past few days have clearly shown that the present coastal protection plans do not work.” Greenpeace highlighted the fact that between 1993 and 1998, 131'125 million pesetas was spent on the country's coastline, in particular the regeneration of beaches with artificial sand. “Many of those beaches disappeared in the past three days,” Greenpeace said. The organisation said that despite the process being extremely expensive, there are still 42 beach regeneration projects outstanding and next week Greenpeace will be meeting the director general for coastal protection and be questioning Environment Minister, Jaume Matas, over his department's plans for the stretches of coastline worst hit, such as the Balearics.

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