“The coasts must be better protected.”
The specialised area of regional planning that Miquel Ramón heads is, without a doubt, one of the most complex on Ibiza‘s Island Council. Sr. Ramón, born in 1953 in Jesus, is a member of the left-leaning Esquerra Unida party. As such he must work to reach consensus with the municipalities in balancing economic and environmental interests. This is not always easy. He says, “Considering land utilisation and the construction industry, there have been a large number of sins that have been committed in the recent past.”
However, he does realise that he cannot turn back the hands of time. Sr. Ramón hopes to set a new course for more moderate growth on the island with a reworked land-use plan for Ibiza (Plan Territorial de Ibiza, or PTI) that should be passed by the legislators later this year.
IbizaNOW: Whether at a local, regional or countrywide level, the portfolios for regional planning and land use have played a key role in politics over the past decades. In many town halls the mayors personally administer these specialised areas. How do you explain this development?
Miquel Ramón: In all of Spain, but especially along the Mediterranean, we have been forced to watch excessive building activity over the past few years. In the first place much was built out of speculation and not in order to satisfy a real demand for living space. The bill for these heedless policies has just recently come due. In an extensive report released at the end of March the EU parliament in Strasbourg recently decided to sanction the settlement and construction policies of many Spanish regions. They even threatened as a last consequence to suspend subsidies.
IbizaNOW: That begs the question as to whether or not the powers municipalities have with regard to land-use planning go too far. Ultimately the issuance of building permits provides them with a wonderful source of income.
Miquel Ramón: Many municipalities finance themselves primarily with the receipts from the issuance of building permits and the related taxes and dues for such. As a result the construction boom allowed for large increases in local budgets. This is a dangerous development. I believe that we have to forge new paths for municipal financing.