The Spanish Government, enforcing a law from 1988, are cracking down on what constitutes coastal public domain — the strip of land that stretches back from the water’s edge — and are beginning negotiations with property owners to remove developments encroaching on this land.

Some owners are being given 60 year concessions to live in the properties affected but others are threatened with demolition.

‘We’re taking the law seriously,’ says the Environment Ministry’s coastal department director, Jose Fernandez. ‘Previous governments didn’t think it was important, while we have made it a priority.’

The government is finishing the process of drawing the line that designates what is state-owned and cannot contain private property along Spain’s 6,200 miles of coast.

It plans to spend some $8 billion to fix up the coast. Some of the money will go to homeowners who, under the 1988 law, cannot sell to another private party but can sell to the state.

Statistics suggest that 40 percent of the coast is built on and nearly 70 percent of Spanish beaches are surrounded by buildings.

(article published by the Associated Press)

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