Government to bring in changes to the "Ley de Costas"
The controversial law has led to serious problems for some property owners
The current and controversial ‘Ley de Costas’ has been in force since 1988 with hardly any modifications. Now the new Minister for Agriculture, Foodstuffs and the Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete, has indicated that ‘very deep reforms’ are on the way to bring value to the coast.
El País reoprts that at an event to welcome top civil servants in his department, he gave a speech which indicated that the environment cannot stop economic development, and said that environmental legislation needs to be simplified.
Sources at the ministry have noted that there is a problem of judicial insecurity with the current legislation and that they have received pressure from countries such as Britain and Germany, and complaints from EuroMPs as there are foreigners who have been affected by the compulsory purchase aspect of the legislation.
The law, which was left untouched by the Aznar government, declares all the beach to be of public use, but does not use a fixed distance, following geographic concepts instead. That extends the area into dunes and marshlands, to where the sea has reached in the worst of storms. Many people have purchased property without the notary or the bank telling them it is located in land for public use, and these people have been granted a 30 year concession of use, but no longer own the property.
A legal change now is complicated by the fact that there has already been compulsory purchases and demolition of some properties, so their owners will now be able to claim compensation. The new legislation is expected to extend the concessions, as ‘thousands’ of them were to expire in 2018