Marbella (Malaga) is “clearly the previously rural municipality most impacted by intensive tourism in Spain,” according to a report.

40% of the Spanish coastal municipalities are at risk of flooding due to urbanization.

40% of the coastal municipalities of Spain have seen how their coastline has been transformed in recent years due to large constructions, preferably for tourist uses, which represents a “High” risk of flooding both due to the existence of cold drops, DANAs or the rise of the sea itself, according to a report from the Sustainability Observatory entitled The 50 most built municipalities on the Spanish coast: urban areas most exposed to storms on the coast.The study warns of the existence of two large processes that are in collision on the Spanish coast. On the one hand, the development of the tourist-residential industrial complex that has determined the development of authentic coastal cities in territories that before the 50s of the last century were rural and have reached the first strip of coast in the first 500 meters.

POn the other hand, the report also points to climate change and sea rise as causes of this risk, without forgetting the cold drops which in recent years have been repeated with greater frequency and intensity in Spain.

Thus, it expressly cites the temporary Gloria, which according to the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) has been “The hardest” suffered since 1982 and that caused flooding along the east coast of Spain.

Of the 50 municipalities published, only two, Puerto Real (Cádiz) Y Sagunto (Valencia) They can justify having built in a coastal zone because of buildings for industrial use. Despite this, the 48 remaining towns would be marked by constructions for tourist use, mainly homes, hotels and golf courses, the first two being the main tourist feature and exceeding 80% in 22 cases.This list of the most artificial municipalities in the coastal strip of historical non-urban nature is led by twelve enclaves of Andalusia, eleven of the Valencian Community, followed by ten from both the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, as well as two Catalans and five from the Galician coast.

Marbella in the lead

Of all, Marbella (Malaga) It is the place that stands out the most and which the report defines as “clearly the previously rural municipality most impacted by intensive tourism in Spain”. With Calvià (Mallorca)They are the municipalities that have paved the most coastal area with 988 hectares and 983 hectares, respectively. From behind, he follows them Denia (Alicante) with 613 hectares, Estepona (Malaga) with 566 hectares and the fifth on the list is Puerto del Rosario (Las Palmas) with 531 hectares.

However, the town that has most modified its first 500 meters of coastline, if measured in percentages, is Benicasim (Castellón) with slightly more than 82% of its surface modified for tourist purposes while it is followed by more than 30%, Orihuela (Alicante), Mijas (Malaga), Marbella (Malaga), Torrevieja (Alicante) Y Benalmádena (Malaga). This last municipality together with Calpe (Alicante) they are the ones that have artificialized the whole of their municipal area the most (about 45%).In summary, the geographical areas most impacted by this transformation are the Malaga coast, Alicante and south of Valencia Although the west coast of Cadiz, the Balearic Islands and the larger Canary Islands also have numerous changes.For its part, the north coast has experienced less tourist urban development except in some municipalities of the Rías Baixas, such as Vilagarcía de Arosa (Pontevedra), with 59% of its modified surface and Sanxenxo (Pontevedra), with 41% as well as Oleiros (32%), Ferrol and Ribeira (21%) in La Coruña.In addition, the Sustainability Observatory repeatedly highlights throughout the report that the construction of golf courseshas passed Increasingly, the surface area of ​​land destined for public spaces such as children’s parks.The document warns that most of the municipalities analyzed are immersed in a “risky” economic model because they have prioritized tourism in favor of agriculture. What has also shown a growing social and economic imbalances. “The extension of the urban territory has been done completely behind the back of the original urban nuclei, even territorially disconnected and following a dispersed, low-density model,” the report detailed.

‘Asturias Model’

Finally, the recommendations that point from the Sustainability Observatory is, for example, back off the occupation of the entire coast in at least the first 500 meters in order to “give the sea what is from the sea” although they clarify that “in many cases it is not only about 500 meters” and it must be taken into account that the coastline is changing over time.Another possible measure to take is the so-called ‘Asturias model’, recognized for its strict protection of the coastal strip and they ask that it be recognized as the model to follow throughout the whole of Spain, in addition to implementing a compensation system for municipalities that have not deteriorated their coastline.In this sense, they also claim a new littoral law that recognizes the problems that can derive from climate change and recalls that in the year in which the Coastal Law was approved (1988) the autonomous communities did not have their current powers. In addition, the increase in protected areas because “it has been shown that it is one of the keys to stopping the construction process.”