New Coast Law to help half a million people, says ministry

Over 5,000 beachfront businesses to be saved from threat of closure along with homes built on public land

The conservative government’s new Coast Law, which is significantly more lenient than its predecessor, will benefit over half a million people who own homes, hotels, beach bars and other businesses right on the beachfront. “Let’s take advantage of the impact that’s already been done,” the secretary of state for the environment, Federico Ramos, said on Friday.

The Popular Party (PP) had always been critical of a law aimed at clearing the Spanish coastline of the cement that covers it following years of indiscriminate building. Although it was passed in 1988, it took inspectors years to map out exactly which properties lie within 100 meters or so from the waterline — an area considered of public use. Homes falling inside that area could not be sold by their owners, who only got a concession to live in them. In 2009, an amendment stated that properties built before 1988 would be left out of the expropriation. Still, thousands of foreigners who bought properties in Spain, including many Britons and Germans, were affected by the law and European lawmakers sought to pressure Spain into letting up on it.

Now, the PP has found a way to let around 1,000 hotels, 3,000 beach bars and 1,700 other businesses off the hook, even though they sit right on the beachfront. The government claims this move will save 150,000 direct jobs, mainly in the tourism sector, one of the few remaining competitive areas in the Spanish economy. Also saved are 12,800 homes built on public land, some of which were due for demolition in 2018. Owners may renew their 75-year concessions and even sell up.


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