In the recent and present times we live in, many of the important and transcendent things of collective everyday life have changed.
“When a bank fell or a roof collapsed, it didn’t stop until it was rebuilt, the walls of the house were grouted and whitewashed with lime. the wastelands were kept wild to have on hand the pastures and medicinal herbs needed for animals and people”.
At every historical moment, social priorities change. If before the local issues of the country and the land were of paramount importance, today the most general issues of all kinds are those that matter.
Man needs to believe in fantastic universal theories and conspiracies, and at the same time he does not realize the true, close and real conspiracy, which suffers from a collective value such as landscape and territory. Awareness of the collective duty to look after the elements of rural and natural heritage has worsened.
The old traditional society was clear that the landscape, the heritage and the rural environment were a communal good of all. Whoever neglected or destroyed it was the object of a social censorship that became a moral obligation, and that forced to act to maintain it. Today, although European standards define the landscape as “an essential element for individual and social well-being, the protection, management and planning of which entail rights and duties for all”, a large part of our society does not perceive it. as a collective good, but as a nuisance, of which the property is master and lady, and can dispose of, make and undo as it sees fit.
Without a minimum of social awareness, the preventive legal regulations for landscape protection approved by national or municipal administrations are of little use. Even construction and agricultural companies that are fully aware of environmental legislation, have no objection to plowing, deforesting and replanting protected forest land, facing penalties of 200,000 euros.
Ten years ago, the Parliament of Catalonia approved the Landscape Law with the aim of: “Preserving the natural, patrimonial, cultural, social and economic values of the landscape of Catalonia in a framework of sustainable development”. But in one year in Lleida, the Rural Agents have processed 35 complaints for not having requested authorization to convert barren land into arable land. (Segre September 19, 2015 p. 17)
Also in 2005, Tàrrega City Council approved the “Municipal Urban Planning Plan”, which delimited and specified which areas of undevelopable land needed to be preserved and protected due to its rich landscape and / or ecological diversity. with the aim of ensuring: “Preservation of a quality environment and landscape, biodiversity, floodplains, biological corridors and large open spaces”.
In Tàrrega, similar problems occur at another level. The POUM graphically delimits on scale plans, protected areas of ecological or landscape interest, as well as reserve areas affected by road infrastructure or public interest.
And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes. What should be the norm is the exception. Earthmoving is an activity, always subject to the mandatory license or permit of works by the public administration. Too often, however, a “transformation or improvement” of farms is carried out without authorization. When these landslides affect the different types of soils that the POUM delimits and protects, the damage is irreversible and irreparable, and difficult to detect and / or verify.
What can be done to prevent a few from appropriating and damaging with impunity a landscape that belongs to everyone? .
Information is needed first. Some owners, companies or communities, act without having the information on the qualification of the land where they act, and ignore the obligation of the activities must be subject to the mandatory authorization and permission of administrative works.
Secondly, the inspection has been improved, and especially the preventive actions: Google Earth applications can be very effective in checking the altered physical realities. Also the information, like the one that has been made public in the press, (Segre of the 24 of September, p. 20), where 60 hectares of new crops in the term of Tàrrega are announced, would have to move file to our City council so that according to the promoters, things are done well, and to the satisfaction of all.
And thirdly, more transparency and public information would be needed: citizens should have access to information on work permits granted, preserving the identity and personal data of those affected.
“Walking along the paths of the municipality must continue to be a pleasant experience. We should not find that the beautiful servera or the magnificent holm oak are no longer there. Nor should we see the depressing remains of fallen banks or ruined huts. We cannot be satisfied with a landscape of ravaged roads and tucked-away coasts. We must maintain the thick copses and wooded masses of the moors, rich in life and diversity of our municipality”.
JAUME RAMON SOLÉ.