Thousands of beachfront homeowners are one step away from losing their homes or businesses. However, the cancellation by the Supreme Court of the 2022 Coastal Regulation now opens the door to overturning the kilometer demarcations that in recent months had been carried out along the entire Spanish coast by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition. Some demarcations that, by expanding the scope of the maritime-terrestrial public domain with the argument of protecting the beaches, affected numerous properties that, in practice, were going to pass into the hands of the State.
But the recent ruling of the Supreme Court declares the “full nullity” of the Royal Decree by which the Coastal regulations were modified in 2022. It is the first response to the cascade of resources raised, in this case, that of those affected in Formentera. According to the ruling, the change in the regulations should have gone through the public consultation process, which was not done.
This means that the demarcations executed by the Coastal Demarcation in accordance with this rule are no longer valid, but not those that were previously initiated according to the 2014 regulation. All “a legal gibberish that requires review on a case-by-case basis.”
This is what Manolo López, spokesperson for We are Mediterranean, an entity that brings together fifty groups of people affected by the Coastal Law throughout Spain. “The fact that the reform of the 2022 regulation disappears takes us back to the previous regulations: the 2014 regulation, which is not better,” he explains. Therefore, “Only the boundaries that were based on the last regulation will automatically decay.because the retroactivity of the norm is limited”.
And this is where the first complication appears, as stated by Pedro Pastor, president of the Association of People Affected by the Coastal Law in Denia. In this Alicante municipality, with a great tourist projection, the neighbors have taken up arms in recent months to try to save the 3,617 affected properties. Of these, 103 are those that will remain directly within the public domain with the demarcation proposal. In other words, their legitimate owners will cease to be owners for the benefit of the State. A case of “full confiscation” that denounces Somos Mediterrania.
Still, It is not clear that the demarcations in Denia can be paralyzed without further ado.. “The demarcation is still alive today and we understand that it is in force,” laments Pastor, who denounces “Costa’s lack of transparency.” “We have not yet been able to see any technical report that justifies the demarcations in Denia, so Costas could correct any defect and resubmit the demarcation,” he insists. And this is because the definitive demarcation has not been executed, despite the fact that the initiation phases and the felling act have already been completed. In other words, it remains to be seen if Costas could take advantage of the 2014 regulations and complete the procedure.
For the general director of Coasts of the Generalitat, Vicente Martínez Mus, “the demarcation criteria that the Ministry has been applying refer to the temporary Glory of 2020“, so it is clear that the regulation that applied was that of 2022.” “It is null and void and administrative acts cannot be validated,” he emphasizes. In his opinion, “the Ministry returns to square one.”