Partido Popular councillors Jesús Lupiáñez and Jorge Pérez in Mezquitilla on Wednesday / sur

Vélez-Málaga’s ‘Brick Beach’ project is finally shelved

The central government considers the plan, which would have used recycled construction rubble, "incompatible" with its strategy to protect Malaga’s coastline

EUGENIO CABEZAS | JENNIE RHODES

The Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge has definitively shelved Vélez-Málaga’s 'Brick Beach' project, which proposed the regeneration of the eastern beaches of Vélez-Málaga using recycled construction rubble.

The Directorate General for the Coast and the Sea has issued a report in which it considers that "the creation of the artificial beach is not compatible with the strategy for the protection of the coast of Malaga considering the effects of climate change, so the requested action cannot be reported favourably".

Potential toxicity

The report cites issues related to potential toxicity from the waste materials used, as well as a lack of clarity around the proposed breakwaters being effective against coastal erosion.

The 'Brick Beach' project was launched in 2018 with the aim of using construction and demolition waste to regenerate some of Vélez-Málaga’s beaches. The idea has been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the UIA (Urban Innovative Actions) to recover the beaches of Mezquitilla and Lagos, which disappeared as a result of the construction of the port of Caleta de Vélez.

The project envisaged the creation of a rubble treatment plant which would treat the waste from the numerous local illegal landfill sites, which would create a new beach, protected by the construction of two free-standing submerged breakwaters, each 130 metres long, and located 170 metres from the coast. The location of this plant in the Taramillas area, next to Vélez-Málaga’s waste water treatment plant, was rejected by the some councillors due to its proximity the Viña Málaga residential area, located one kilometre away.

Regeneration of the beaches

The Mayor of Vélez-Málaga, Antonio Moreno Ferrer (PSOE), has denied to SUR any knowledge of this report. On Wednesday morning, the deputy mayor and councillor for beaches, Jesús Pérez Atencia, whose independent Torre del Mar party has opposed the plans, despite forming a coalition leadership with Moreno Ferrer’s PSOE party, gave a press conference on Wednesday morning to react to the news. “Time has proved me right" he said, adding "We have always said that we are not against the 'Brick Beach', but the way in which this initiative has been carried out, with lack of information.”

He continued: "We are going to continue working so that the regeneration of these beaches is carried out, but doing it well."

The opposition Partido Popular (PP) spokesperson, Jesús Lupiañez, pointed out that it has taken a month for the details of the report to come to light, saying that the mayor, Antonio Moreno Ferrer (PSOE), who he accused of being “absent” in recent weeks, "did not reveal what his team had already known since April, that the government had knocked down his star project".