In the recent and present time that we live, many of the important and transcendent things of the collective daily life have changed.
“When a margin fell or a roof collapsed, it did not stop until it was redone, the walls of the house were grouted and sprinkled with lime, at least the cabin was always nice, everything was pruned and weeded, only the páramos were kept wild to have at hand the pastures and the medicinal plants necessary for animals and people.”
In each historical moment, social priorities change. If before the local issues of the country and the land had a major importance, today the most general issues of all kinds are those that matter.
Man needs to believe in fantastic theories and universal conspiracies, while not realizing the true, close and real conspiracy that suffers a collective value such as landscape and territory. The conscience towards the collective duty to watch over the elements of the rural and natural heritage, has passed to a worse life.
The old traditional society was clear that the landscape, heritage and rural environment was a communal property of all. Whoever forgot or destroyed it was the object of a social censorship that occurred in a moral obligation, and that obliged them to act to maintain it. Today, although European standards define landscape as “an essential element for individual and social welfare, protection, management and planning entail rights and duties for all”, a good part of our society, does not perceive it as a collective good, but as a hindrance, of which the property is master, and can dispose, make and break as appropriate.
Without a minimum social conscience, the preventive legal regulations for the protection of the landscape approved by the national or municipal administrations, serve little good. Even, construction and agrarian companies that know perfectly the environmental legislation, do not have any objection to clear, deforest and land protected forest land, facing penalties of 200,000 euros.
Ten years ago, the Parliament of Catalonia approved the Law of Landscape in order to: “Preserve the natural, heritage, cultural, social and economic values of the landscape of Catalonia within a framework of sustainable development”. But in a year in Lleida, rural agents have processed 35 complaints for not having requested authorization to convert vacant land into arable land. (September 19, 2015 p.17)
Also in 2005, the City Council of Tàrrega approved the “Municipal Urban Planning Plan”, which delimited and specified which areas of non-urbanizable land had to be preserved and protected for its richness and diversity of landscape and / or ecology, with the aim of ensuring the: “Preservation of an environment and a landscape of quality, of biodiversity, of the flood zones, the biological corridors and the great free spaces”.
In Tàrrega, similar problems also occur at another level. The POUM delimits graphically on scale plans, the protected areas of ecological or landscape interest, as well as the reserve areas affected by road infrastructures or those of public interest.
And again the administration is late. What should be the norm is the exception. The movement of land, is an activity, always subject to the mandatory license or permission of works by the public administration. Too often but, a “transformation or improvement” of farms, is carried out without authorization. When these earth movements affect the different types of soils that the POUM delimits and protects, the bad fact is irreversible and irreparable, and difficult to detect and / or verifiable.
What should be done to prevent a few from appropriating and damaging with impunity a landscape that belongs to everyone?
In the first place there is information. Some owners, companies or collectives, act without having the information on the qualification of the land where they act, and ignore the obligatory nature of the activities must be subject to the mandatory authorization and permission of administrative works.
In the second place, it is necessary to improve the inspection, and especially the preventive actions: the applications of Google Earth can be very effective to check the physical realities altered. Also the information, like the one that has been made public in the press, (Segre of September 24, p.20), where 60 hectares of new crops are announced in the term of Tàrrega, should make move to our City Council so that according to the promoters, things are done well, and to everyone’s satisfaction.
And thirdly, it would require more transparency and public information: citizens would have to access the information of the granted works licenses, preserving the identity and personal data of those affected.
“Walking on the roads of the territory should remain a pleasant experience, we should not find that, that precious servera or that magnificent oak, are no longer there, nor should we see the depressing remains of fallen margins or ruined huts. a landscape devastated by roads and coasts xaragallats. We must maintain the thick garrics and forested masses of the páramos, rich in life and diversity of our term.”
JAUME RAMON SOLÉ.