The Banyalbufar town council has attacked the decision taken by central minister of the environment Jaume Matas, to extract sand 100 metres off the coast to regenerate the beach of Can Picafort. An irate council said yesterday in a communique, that “the ministry has broken the rules of the game in a democratic system, such as transparency in information, as the extraction of sand has been imposed.” Mayor Manuel Romero and councillor Barbara Bujosa said that the council has been opposing similar measures since 1997, but the ministry has ignored its wishes. The Banyalbufar council and the Balearic government are taking legal advice as to what steps they can take to stop the operation. The council has not been informed of the work although the ship, Volvox Iberia, has been seen to load sand twice a day, at night and at 3pm. Each time it takes 5'000 cubic metres of sand to Can Picafort beach. The council is not alone in its opposition to the project. The Balearic ministry of the environment headed by Margalida Rossello plans to go to court. Els Verds, the local Green party, has filed a complaint at the Palma court, alleging an ecological offence and misuse of power by making what it calls “fraudulent use” of emergency processes for extracting sand and regenerating beaches damaged by the November storms. The environmental group GOB has denounced the case to the European Commission, claiming the work is “illegal“ as it does not comply with European regulations, and it has called on the Balearic ministry of the environment to order work to stop.

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