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Parliamentary questions
23 February 1999
WRITTEN QUESTION by María Sornosa Martínez (PSE) to the Commission

 Subject: Pego-Oliva marshland

In its reply of November 1998 to a Written Question (E-3006/98)(1), the Commission said that it did not consider that there was an infringement of Community law in the case raised previously with regard to environmental damage in the Pego-Oliva marsh. The Commission said that the Spanish authorities had taken legal and administrative steps to put an end to the deterioration of the zone, which constitutes one of the most important wetlands in Spain.

However, over the past year, i.e. when the Spanish authorities said that these measures had been adopted, the environmental situation of the marsh deteriorated considerably without any intervention by the same competent authorities to stop such deterioration. In fact, a study carried out by experts at the University of Alicante puts the damage caused in the area of the marsh at 1 500 million pesetas. Similarly, according to a report by the Administration of the Nature Conservation Area, half of all the species of birds which nest in the marsh have either disappeared altogether or have seen their population cut in half. In addition to the threat to the bird population in the conservation area, the past year has seen the environment in the conservation area come under attack in a number of other ways such as the killing of fish by water extraction pumps, the dumping of agricultural pesticides, the death of cattle as a result of drinking contaminated water, the accumulation of waste in improvised agricultural settlements, the lowering of the water table, the desertification of wetlands and the disruption of the landscape by crops such as sunflower which are completely alien to the unique nature of the zone.

In view of the above, and given that the Pego-Oliva marsh is included in the list of wetlands to be protected drawn up by the Consellería de Medi Ambient de la Generalitat Valenciana (Environment Agency of the Autonomous Community of Valencia) and which is also a designated Special Protection Zone (SPZ) pursuant to Directive 79/409/EEC(2) on birds and which continues to be in receipt of funding from the Life programme:

- does the Commission not consider that the attacks on the environment referred to in the above-mentioned reports and the events described above show that the Spanish authorities are not taking effective action to stop the deterioration of the zone?
- what measures does the Commission intend to adopt to preserve the Pego-Oliva marsh?

(1)OJ C 142, 21.5.1999, p. 68.
(2)OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1.

OJ C 341, 29/11/1999 (p. 97)
Zadnja posodobitev: 22. januar 2000Pravno obvestilo