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Formentera continues advocating for fair maritime transport

port-2 foto-j-a-arribaspConsell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer and mobility conseller Rafa González met yesterday in Palma with Balearic minister of housing and mobility Marc Pons and head of the department's air and maritime section, Xavier Ramistal. The working meeting has been in the offing since Pons visited Formentera in October, and is preliminary to a gathering of the Balearic Committee on Maritime Transport scheduled for Monday 25 November.  

According to Ferrer, three of Formentera's primordial issues came up for discussion at the encounter. “The first issue raised, and in fact the most pressing, was the importance of early-bird and late-night ferry connections with Eivissa”, said Ferrer.

Consell and Govern officials are reviewing their options concerning tabling any of an array of different proposals at the maritime transport committee meeting. “Any measures would have to offer immediate solutions to the current service gap”, she pointed out.

Minister Pons said that ferries in the early morning and late at night represented “the easiest hurdle, and the one we're focused on now” but insisted that efforts were under way to address Ferrer's other areas of concern.

Day trips
Meeting participants also talked about organised single-day boat trips from Eivissa. “The lack of oversight on such excursions means our port and the roads and beaches of Ses Salines reserve are seeing saturation”, said Ferrer. “That's why we're calling for regulation”.

“In summer there are as many as 170 such excursions happening every day”, pointed out the president. “The boats arriving are 70% empty, though if they were full it would mean a total of 45,000 visitors”, she continued, “and it's happening right here in our backyard”.

Ferrer and González's message to Pons was that a retooling would be required to make the service environmentally sustainable. Ferrer called for the approval of “a series of measures -in line with the declaration of climate emergency- to move our island towards sustainability”.

The two points served as basis for an agreement from Pons and Ferrer to hold periodic meetings in an effort to chart a consensus-based path to a more sustainable system, with a well-founded argument justifying the importance of guaranteeing early-morning and late-night service, which would be consistent with CNCM demands.

21 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera promises to develop pact for climate and local energy

foto-signatura-conveni1Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer sat down in Palma today with the Balearic government's vice-president and minister of the energy transition and productive sectors, Juan Pedro Yllanes, with both officials putting their signatures on an agreement to develop the European mayors' covenant for the climate and energy transition on Formentera. Entry into the covenant means a voluntary pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions and create action plans to combat climate change.

The two administrations pledge to work together to get Formentera on board with measures for local entities and territorial coordinators under the European Commission's Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

In Formentera's case, the Consell must put forward the technical and strategic means to create and develop the 2030 Action Plan for Sustainable Energy and Climate. The plan calls for minimum 40% cuts of CO2 emissions; increased resilience in the face of climate change and greater cooperation between local and regional authorities to improve access to safe, sustainable and affordable energy.

For its part, the Balearic Ministry for Energy Transition and Productive Sectors commits to supporting Formentera's entry into the mayors' covenant and offering the local government technical and strategic assistance in the endeavour.

President Ferrer said she was excited about the day's signing, calling it "a clearly-worded pledge by each of the four islands to combat climate change". She asserted "agreements like this one are crucial to unifying our climate strategy in the Mediterranean", describing the area as "acutely vulnerable" and highlighting Formentera's historic place on the forefront of sustainability and the energy transition. "Signing this pledge puts us in the position to continue pushing forward bold action", Ferrer said.

Neither administration faces financial imperatives under the agreement, though both promise to dedicate manpower and materials. Related costs are the responsibility of each administration.

The Balearic Ministry of Energy Transition and Productive Sectors and Consell de Formentera agree to honour the pact for a period of four years, and to consider its extension upon term. The agreement also envisions subsequent follow-up, monitoring and assessment by a special commission. Meeting at least once a year, the group will be responsible for approving an annual action plan and evaluating related measures.  
Covenant of Balearic Mayors

Climate change and energy legislation passed 22 February 2019 anticipates the Balearic Islands' adherence to the Covenant of Mayors. The bill requires the Govern balear to support municipal bids to join the Covenant and puts municipalities on the hook for passing climate and energy action plans according to EU methodology.

The European Commission's Covenant of Mayors was solidified in 2008 to support the efforts of local authorities in enacting climate and sustainable energy policies. Joining the Covenant of Mayors means a voluntary commitment to cutting greenhouse gases and developing climate change resilience.  


20 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera local police write 257 citations for itinerant vending

venda-ambulant-foto2pd1Formentera’s Department of Interior reports the island's law enforcement force logged 257 citations for itinerant sales in summer 2019. The figure is a new high, 142 more than last year’s total of 115.

Interior conseller and director of the local police Josep Marí thanked law enforcement officers, whose achievements, according to Marí, include “responding to the appeals of local businesses by putting together a more targeted plan to tackle the unfair competition” that itinerant vending represents. Marí added that peddlers on beaches are “at odds with the image of tranquility our visitors came here for”.

Operations and confiscated material
From June to September agents wrote 257 citations and confiscated an array of material including 2,667 pieces of fruit, 481 drinks, 1,319 pieces of clothing and 850 pieces of costume jewellery. The island’s department of trade is responsible for processing the offences and initiating charges in each case.

Marí also saluted representatives of Formentera’s small and medium-sized business group, PIMEF, for the additional support they offered, “helping to constantly pinpoint areas of itinerant selling” and “keeping direct contact with Formentera’s interior and trade offices to combat this problem together”.

Other infractions
Charges will also be brought against 37 vendors for illegal possession of a knife, not to mention against eight vendors for trespassing on protected dunes. Trespassing charges are overseen by the natural spaces and biodiversity section of the Balearic ministry of environment and territory.

Most of the confiscated material came from near Ses Illetes beach, although operations also focused on beaches like Migjorn, Es Caló.

14 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

‘Only special help from Madrid can solve the dilemma of Formentera’s triple insularity’

foto-reunio---vicenc---vidalpdConsell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer met with Vicenç Vidal today at local government offices, thanking the Balearic senator for the chance to meet and taking the opportunity to impress on the senator the island’s principal appeals in the hope Vidal convey them to the government in Madrid.

Among the issues raised was the “Special Balearic Regime” (Règim Especial de les Balears, or REB) to unlock extra funding for islands like Formentera in a situation of triple insularity. Ferrer placed rubbish transport costs among other financial costs deserving of consideration. She also appealed to the senator to seek Madrid’s help for the autonomous regions and individual municipalities in efforts to reach 2030 Agenda goals, fight climate change and assist in the energy transition.

The Balearic senator pledged “particular care for Formentera, particularly because the island lacks its own senator”, and noted the latter point featured in discussion as well. He insisted the island deserved “special sensitivity on issues related to our national coasts”, calling for “a more careful handling in view of their acute impact on the island”.

Migrants
President Ferrer described “a new challenge that requires new solutions”: foreign unaccompanied minors. If, as Ferrer insisted, Madrid’s involvement is crucial to the autonomous regions and island councils obtaining needed measures and resources, “they also need to be working to solve this problem at its source”. The senator agreed on the need for unity around the issue of migrants, calling it “a new challenge, and one we need to move forward on”, while also asserting that “guarantees will be necessary”.

The officials also spoke about the importance of investment in the next 12 months in mature tourism areas, as well as reductions in air and maritime travel costs and, according to President Ferrer, “the very specific needs of Formentera residents, as a people—including enjoying the same ability of movement as our fellow islanders and countrywomen and men”.

14 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

A look back at summer '19 lifeguard service

foto 2019 socorristes 1The interior department of the Consell de Formentera, whose remit includes the island's beach lifeguard and rescue service, reports that the service's annual halt in summer operations took place last week. The team worked from May 1 to October 31. For six months, a team that numbered as many as 23 lifeguards worked to assure the safety of Formentera's beaches and swimming areas. Department head Josep Marí applauded lifeguards’ efforts, underscoring the “dedication and professionalism” of the team.

Incidents in summer 2019
Lifeguards responded to 2,753 cases involving everything sun burns to spills, cuts, scrapes and bumps. They also assisted in stings by greater weever (a poisonous fish), sea urchins and jellyfish—at 2,264, this last group was the largest.

Thirty-nine individuals were rescued from potentially dangerous situations in the water, a type of rescue most common when the yellow flag flies, which means beachgoers can still swim but are encouraged to apply caution, something some fail to take into account. Likewise, a total of 24 people were taken to hospital in ambulance.

The interior office is saddened to report on loss of life—the victim was struck by a moving vehicle—near Cavall d’en Borràs beach this July. Red-flag days, when swimmers are expressly banned from entering the water, made up for 46 days this summer.

Formentera beaches: accessible and equipped for heart-attack response
Arenals and Es Pujols beaches feature accessible-swimming options for individuals with reduced mobility. The service, available from 12 noon to 5.00pm when the green flag flies, was requested this year by 36 people. All lifeguard posts without exception are fitted with defibrilators to assist in cases of possible cardiopulmonary arrest.


6 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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