Green Shoots of Growth in Spain –  Eco-Friendly Development is the Future of Tourism

Green Shoots of Growth in Spain – Eco-Friendly Development is the Future of Tourism

I am so glad now that they are finally waking up and putting a curb on the great concrete urbanisations and looking to other forms of tourism and development. Spain has long been a leader in wind generation for electricity and now I see that they are heading down the solar path in a big way. Near where I have my business they have been building a huge solar farm and it is quite impressive and not the only one. Not to everyone’s tastes I grant you, as with the wind turbines, but you cannot argue with the sentiment behind it.  

As a consequence of this forward thinking they are now well ahead of most other European countries and on course to meet their quota of sustainable energy by 2016. It doesn’t stop there either; they offer big subsidies and cash back deals on individuals and companies installing solar energy of there own. Now they are going already further by offering areas of land for ecological touristic development.  

Getting permission to build anything in Spain is not easy, unlike what most people are probably told. The bureaucracy here is incredible and has rule to the illegal building that has been so rife on the Costa del Sol among other places. If you have a piece of land and wish to develop it, all is dependent on the zone or classification that it is in, as is often the case and this has rule to many problems in the past.  

There is a lot of natural park, which you cannot build on, and already more rustic land which is really for farming but if you have enough you might get permission for a farm house. The trouble has been that people own little bits her and there, in different zones. The chances are that they inherited it and it was divided up among the, usually large, family. But the locals believe it their right to build a little house on their plot for the weekends.  

They know that there is no way they will get permission to build – so they don’t already ask. They build as quickly as possible, and as subtly in addition, and hope nobody notices – at the minimum until they finish building it. Then if it is spotted they will probably get away with a fine. The same went for pretty much all construction in the last 10 or more years; and you can’t blame people because already the “authentic” places with permission were not totally reliable. Some permissions were revoked after building and occupancy because the Junta de Andalucia ( regional government) said that bribes had bought the permissions.

This to me is madness and you must forgive a slight rant, because once something is built it is no good blaming the buyers, who bought in good faith with permissions and deeds.   Well you can see I am slightly passionate about this subject because all of these problems have tarred the whole country with the same brush; which is not fair. This is why I am so happy that the course is being set for a sustainable future of sensible development. Areas are being set aside for ecologically sound development and permission can be sought under these new rules. This is what is encouraging developments such as we are starting to see on the Costa de la Luz.  

There are two such projects under way in the southern Cadiz area of the Costa de la Luz, or coast of light. Both are for ecological tourism and have a very green ethos with all the buildings being of wood sourced form well managed northern European forests. The concept is to offer timber lodges as holiday or retirement homes in forests near the coast. These areas could not typically be developed and with good reason, but a trip to the first of these developments would soon put any concerns to rest.  

Set in a forest, as suggested by the name, and close to the beach, Atlantic Forest Park is the first of these new eco resorts. With wonderful timber lodges distributed among the trees it is easy to see the allurement of such a place. The area is very well appropriate to the relaxed air produced here too, with white hill top villages and acres of national park in all directions.  

The same company responsible for Atlantic Forest Park has a second project underway and I hope that we will see more of these types of developments appear as attitudes change. I am sure that more and more people would like to use their money on holidays and homes that have a zero impact on the ecosystem and instead give back more than they take.  

Atlantic Parks, the company behind the developments, is soon to set afloat a new home that will go already further that the current timber lodges in terms of eco credentials. Set to have solar panels, wind generation for electricity and a heat exchange system plus 100% ethically sourced and sustainable materials this seems set to create the bench mark for future such homes.  

If you are considering a holiday home, no matter where it is, consider an eco-friendly timber lodge or building and in doing so consider the ecosystem.”>Atlantic Parks think that people do care about the impact of their actions and how they use their money. I hope that more people will consider this in their decision making course of action whether buying in the UK or oversea.

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