The Canarian Agency for the Protection of the Natural Environment has initiated a new disciplinary procedure against the promoter of the tourist project of Cradle of the Soulin the Little port of Adeje. This body of the Government of the Canary Islands proposes a sanction of 110,000 euros for the company Segunda Casa Adeje SL for the alleged commission of a serious administrative infraction when carrying out the works in this enclave in the south of Tenerife without an environmental impact assessment.
The Canarian Government orders the precautionary stoppage of the works of the Cuna del Alma project, in the Puertito de Adeje
In addition, the Agency has agreed to suspend the execution of the project during the processing of the sanctioning procedure in order to avoid affecting the plant sad viper (sad echium) and any other that may exist in the scope of project execution.
Protection of the Natural Environment has thus responded to a complaint filed by the Association save la tejita against the promoter “for damage to heritage and natural habitat” and for initiating the urbanization project and its associated works without prior environmental impact statement. According to the document to which this newspaper has had access, the promoter may make allegations within a period of 15 days.
In recent days, the Councilor for Ecological Transition and Territory Management of Adeje, Manuel Luis Méndez, has insisted that the works should not be subject to an environmental impact assessment. According to the City Council, the environmental report of the Puertito management plan, approved in 2018, is enough.
According to the resolution, this environmental impact report is necessary to comply with Law 21/2013 of December 9. This standard obliges the submission of any plan, program or project that may have significant effects on the environment to an adequate environmental evaluation before its adoption, approval or authorization. When this obligation is breached, the acts of “adoption, approval or authorization of plans, programs and projects” remain invalid.
The Councilor for Ecological Transition of this municipality in the south of the island has maintained that the heavy machinery work that has been carried out on the ground is related to the construction of road infrastructure for Cuna del Alma, not hotels or luxury villas, and that these would be framed within the “urbanization projects, including the construction of shopping centers and car parks”, according to law 21/2013, of environmental evaluation of projects.
On the other hand, Luis Méndez also said that the construction of the roads in the Puertito de Adeje will make it possible to change the classification of the land to urban, so that later “an environmental impact assessment will not be necessary” for the rest of the vacation complex that will be foresees. However, as Canarias Ahora has published, none of the regulations places a specific land classification among the exclusion assumptions from an environmental impact assessment. This is not a criterion to be taken into account, as are projects whose sole objective is national defense or civil protection, or those approved by a State law.
Until now, the works of Cuna del Alma remain paralyzed. The Ministry of Ecological Transition ordered the precautionary stoppage of the tourism project due to the “imminent threat of environmental damage” that the works pose to protected wild flora, after verifying the different complaints received by the Salvar La Tejita association.
The regional Executive confirmed a population of the sad viborina in the lands affected by the project, a species of flora that has the category of special protection within the Canary Islands Catalog of Protected Species. This plant has been identified in the place not only by volunteer scientists who have traveled to this enclave in the south of Tenerife, but also by the regional Biodiversity Service and the Natural Environment Protection Agency.
The Ecological Transition Department also issued a negative report in response to the promoter’s request to relocate this plant. There are very few exceptions that allow this intervention and the construction of 420 luxury villas is not one of them. The exceptions would only be applied for harmful effects on health, when there is a threat to the safety of people due to the plant, to prevent significant damage to crops, livestock, forests, fishing or water quality, for compelling reasons of public interest of the first order or for reasons of research or education.
This is the second suspension of the works that has been decided in less than a year. The first of these dates from May 31, when the Island Territory Planning and Historical Heritage Directorate of the Cabildo de Tenerife issued a resolution provisionally suspending work on a plot of land near a protected reserve.
In addition, on September 2, the General Directorate of Heritage of the Canary Islands Government opened a disciplinary file against the promoter for “the alteration and significant destruction of an archaeological site.” Segunda Casa Adeje SL is exposed to a penalty of 600,000 euros for a “very serious” offense against property.
Given the precautionary suspension of the works, Cuna del Alma assures that the order is being analyzed by legal services. In addition, it stresses that the company will make the appropriate allegations and will study the possible legal actions to be taken “in defense of the rights acquired during these years by having all the necessary planning and environmental licenses issued by all the competent administrations.”