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Junta reports increase in applications to legalise wells after Julen tragedy

The hole the boy fell down in Totalán.
The hole the boy fell down in Totalán. / SUR
  • Dozens have gone to the Environment Department offices to deal with necessary paperwork regarding boreholes drilled without permission on their land

The Junta's Environment Department offices in Malaga have reported dozens of landowners applying to legalise wells and boreholes or requesting information about how to fill in and seal holes that are no longer in use.

The increase comes as a result of the recent Totalán case in which the toddler Julen died when he fell into a borehole, prompting the massive rescue operation that was followed by people around the world.

The Junta's acting Environment delegate in the province of Malaga, Adolfo Moreno, confirmed the increase, although he was unable to provide an exact figure.

"There has been a notable increase; people are showing a clear interest in legalising this type of borehole [carried out without permission] since the regrettable case in Totalán," he said at the end of last week.

Last year, he added, the service responsible for controlling activities involving drilling for water, opened 600 investigations.

Also last week the central government called for all the relevant authorities (regional, municipal and Guardia Civil) to coordinate and step up inspections, investigations and penalisation in cases of illegal drilling.

The regional authority has encouraged citizens to report cases of illegal drilling they come across, due to the difficulty in detecting all holes through inspections.

Fines in the case of the drilling being considered a serious infraction could range from 6,000 to 300,000 euros.