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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Environment

La Mola gets pilot programme to curb snake population

Foto reunio serpsAt eight yesterday evening in the Casa del Poble community centre of la Mola, Formentera Council president Jaume Ferrer, environment councillor Daisee Aguilera and the regional minister of the Govern Balear, Vicenç Vidal, met to unveil information on a new push to control numbers of snakes on the island, a joint campaign led by the CiF and the administration in Palma.

According to Councillor Aguilera, since April 29 eighteen cages built by students at Eivissa's school of art and artisanry have been set up around the island. With 20 snakes nabbed, Aguilera assured the traps were already proving their worth. Another five traps will be installed today, though if necessary that number could increase to 100. Aguilera indicated that so far efforts have focused on la Mola, the most affected area on the island, but said other traps would be laid elsewhere to establish the full scope of the snakes' spread. She enlisted the entire island to help keep numbers under control, directing residents who see snakes to “report it to the Office of Environment.”

As Minister Vidal pointed out, this species of snakes is invasive on Formentera and, in his words, “a threat to our local biodiversity”. Nevertheless, he assured residents there was no reason to panic. According to Vidal, the species targeted —Rhinechis scalaris—, “poses no threat to people.” As a problem affecting both Formentera and Eivissa, the climbing snake numbers received the attention of the Govern Balear, which is leading the current charge. The officials also identified another objective: preventing the arrival of new snakes, which generally come as stowaways on ornamental olive trees shipped from the mainland.

Council offers to remove vehicles abandoned on private land

Foto retirada vehicle abandonatThe Formentera Council's Office of Environment has announced that till May 31 it will remove derelict vehicles at no charge. The Council, together with the concessionaire at the vehicle disposal plant, Ca Na Negreta, is running a campaign to collect abandoned cars, motorcycles and scooters abandoned on private property.

“The aim of the initiative is to protect Formentera's natural beauty and enhance our local landscapes,” says Daisee Aguilera, councillor of environment of the CiF, “not only does removing these derelict vehicles contribute to a more beautiful countryside, but it reduces the risk of contaminating the soil where cars are abandoned.”

From May 2 to 31, Formentera residents can request for left vehicles to be removed from private property. Three removal options exist. If the person requesting removal is both the vehicle owner and landowner where the vehicle currently sits, a formal request must be made including proof of land ownership (notarised copy of title, property tax records, proof of waste collection tax payment, etc) and written consent for Council to access it.

If the applicant is the owner of vehicle, but not of the land where vehicle sits, he or she must present a formal request of removal including vehicle description and, preferably, consent from the property owner where the vehicle is parked. The documents must be accompanied by proof of land ownership (notarised copy of title, property tax records, proof of waste collection tax payment, etc). If applicant is the landowner where the vehicle currently sits, but does not own the vehicle, he or she must present a formal request of removal including proof of land ownership (notarised copy of title, property tax records, proof of waste collection tax payment, etc). When possible, applicants should provide identification and proof of vehicle owner's consent.

If vehicle owner cannot be contacted, removal proceedings can still carried out, though processing time will be longer and depend on various factors. For more information, contact the Office of Environment of the Formentera Council.

Councillor Aguilera reported that after May 31, proceedings will be brought against owners of abandoned vehicles, which can lead to fines of up to 3,000 euros.

Thousands of invasive caterpillar nests removed

Foto lluita processionaria premsaEarlier today the Office of Environment of the Formentera Council reported on the progress to date of efforts to control the spread of the processionary pine caterpillar, an invasive pest which has particularly affected the area of Es Cap de Barbaria. According to CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, “approximately 12,000 caterpillar nests were removed in autumn and winter 2015-2016.” Aguilera lauded the efforts of outside workers contracted by the Council, volunteers and IBANAT staff, calling them an “instrumental part” of the response.

As Aguilera pointed out, of 12,000 nests removed, more than 4,000 were empty, 6,000 were full and 1,900 were destroyed by rifle shots. For normal nest removal the Council relied on two outside specialists, Govern Balear-employed staff of IBANAT and local volunteers and property owners. According to the councillor, the administration had the additional help of hunters in the Es Cap de Barbaria area, who were tasked with shooting down out of reach nests.

The goal behind the efforts is to stem the spread of the caterpillar in those areas where infestation is most pronounced. Officials have determined the hardest-hit area to be the former agritourism site in Es Cap de Barbaria, in the north northwest part of the island. Nevertheless, a recent study by the environmental office indicates the pest has turned up in places from la Mola to the Ses Salines national park.

The councillor said warm winter temperatures were the primary cause for the caterpillar’s continued spread. What is more, she announced that in the future the Council’s response would include more workers and an expanded area of focus. According to Aguilera, the Council will soon tap the appropriate arms of the Palma government to request a plan of action.

Council logs 15 cases of serious dumping infractions in 2015

Fotos contenidorsThis morning, the Formentera Council office of environment released figures from 2015 showing a spike over the last year in €751-€1,500 fines for dumping. Daisee Aguilera, CiF environment councillor, pointed out that the ramping up of fines reflects a new reality in which disregard for private land and illegal dumping carry repercussions. Aguilera said residents can expect to see more of the same tough enforcement in 2016.

Of the 70 fines issued for illegal dumping in 2015, 15 were for offences classed as 'major' while the remainder were 'minor'. By contrast, in 2014 roughly 60 fines were written, of which, said Aguilera, only two of which were major. Of the 15 major infractions in 2015, seven were for illegal dumping outside a bin and three were for dumping within the Ses Salines national park. Penalties were additionally issued in five cases of dumping that took place on private property. The two major infractions cited in 2014 were both for dumping outside a bin.

More checks

“The Council has stepped up checks on private plots in rural areas to ensure rules on safety, salubrity and public property are respected”. In addition, the councillor took the opportunity to remind residents of the Council's fining scale: €1 to €750 for minor offences, €751 to €1,500 for mid-level offences and €1,501 to €3,000 for major offences. Aguilera urged the people of Formentera to use the new collection station in the Sant Francesc industrial park, “intended for hazardous materials, home appliances and any waste that is too big for streetside bins”. She also reminded residents of the CiF's completely free home pickup service for appliances and furniture, which can be reached by calling 900 102 656.

According to Aguilera, “the island's image depends on everybody”. Asserting that “behaviour like littering directly impacts our local economy and environment”, the councillor underscored the need to protect what she called “the main draw for Formentera's visitors”. Moreover, she pointed to complaints from Formentera locals about the toll dumping has already taken on the island's image. Aguilera also seized on the opportunity to thank the Council's waste collection crews for “minimising the effects of the antisocial behaviour of a small minority”.

Councillor Aguilera underscored the crucial role of Formentera local police, who have ramped up their patrols, in the crackdown. Finally, looking ahead to summer 2016, the environment councillor announced the CiF's plans to roll out an awareness-raising campaign aimed not only at island residents but also merchants, restaurants, holiday rental properties, hotel owners and concessionaires of beachside bars.

Waste drop-off point to stay open during Easter holiday

Porta deixalleriaThe Formentera deixalleria (waste drop-off point) will remain open Easter holiday week except Good Friday. The site serves as a collection and separation point for rubbish that is unsuitable for home pickup. It will open Maundy Thursday, Saturday and Monday for its morning hours of operation — nine in the morning to half past one. As environment councillor Daisee Aguilera reported, “We're aware that many on the island use the Easter holiday either to open shop or get ready for the season ahead. Hence the Council has asked the site's operator, Ferrovial, to remain open the coming days”.

The collection centre is located at the industrial park, between La Savina and Sant Francesc on the Sant Francesc-La Mola road, and has been in operation since May 2015. It is there that Formentera residents are requested to take any rubbish not fit for streetside bins. Normally, the centre is open mornings, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and afternoons, Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

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