The security barrier which Marbella council installed to stop vehicles parking and driving in the area closest to the Artola dunes at Cabopino has not exactly proven effective. This part of the coast has an extremely high ecological value and has been classified as a natural monument by the Andalusian government, but efforts to protect it appear to be failing. This summer, just like last year, people have been ignoring the No Access signs and lifting the barrier so they can drive as close as they can to the beach.
In the past, Marbella council fitted a padlock to the barrier to stop people lifting it, but the padlock was stolen. When we were there earlier this week, by 2pm in the afternoon the area behind the barrier was full of cars, parked there by people who were determined to have to walk as short a distance as possible. In fact, someone had placed a large stone under the barrier to stop it falling. Shortly afterwards Local Police officers arrived on the scene and made people remove their vehicles, before dropping the barrier again for the second time that day.
When asked about this the councillor for Beaches, Manuel Cardeña, said his department is looking at other methods of protecting the dune area, and is considering contracting a security guard for the summer. "We will do whatever it takes to ensure that this doesn't happen again," he said. "We need someone on the spot to remind people they are not allowed to park there, but we will also reinforce the barrier". The previous council also experienced problems: it placed large stones to block the way, but people just removed them in order to drive through.