Environmentalists and residents have raised concerns about the felling of trees on Cerro Gordo / E. Acción

Controversy over felling of 40,000 square metres of woodland in Cerro Gordo in order to grow subtropical crops

Following a complaint from environmentalists and residents, the Junta de Andalucía has said that it is not a protected area and that the private individual can grow crops and also install a farm building

PILAR GARCÍA-TREVIJANO

Environmental organisation Ecologistas en Acción has raised concerns over the felling and burning of a plot of land "in one of the few remaining forests in the area of Cerro Gordo" in La Herradura, in order to grow subtropical crops and a install a farm building.

The concerns have also been echoed by some of the opposition parties in Almuñécar-La Herradura town hall, including accusations that the government team authorised the plan. They said in a recent statement that the Junta de Andalucía has ordered an investigation into slash and burning practices which have been reported by residents of La Herradura, on an area protected area of land.

However, according to Luis Aragón, town councillor for the environment, a team from the town hall and the local fire brigade were sent to the area when the complaints were made and were “surprised to discover that the owner of the land, which is privately owned, had authorisation to carry out the work.” Aragón said he regretted the loss of vegetation and pine forest. "It is rural land and the felling is the responsibility of the Junta. We can't do anything about it," he said.

The Junta de Andalucía claims that the activity is taking place on 40,000 square metres and not 60,000, as the environmentalists had said. They went on to state that the area is not considered either a mountain or a protected area, so the action by the private individuals is legal. The environmental department of the regional government stressed that the corresponding inspections were carried out before work was allowed to start.