New bill of conservation of the natural environment of Andorra provides for fines up to 12000 euros for very serious infractions

The Andorran Government approved the Bill of conservation of the natural environment, biodiversity and landscape.

This is the first integral normative of the Principality that has these characteristics. The Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainability, Sílvia Calvó, revealed the main points yesterday at the press conference held after the cabinet meeting, she stressed that above all it is “an essential law for developing the model of natural tourism”.

The Government will enter the law into parliamentary proceedings over the coming days, and the general principles are to “integrate the conservation of the natural environment in public policies, preserve biodiversity, harmonise activities, restore degraded natural heritage and promote environmental education” explained Calvo.

The project establishes a mandatory environmental assessment procedure when “protected natural spaces or threatened species” are affected. In this case, reports will be required to obtain administrative authorisation. If, for the general interest it was obligatory to carry out intervention, such as ” drinking water supply” in a protected natural area, “mechanisms of compensation are foreseen”, such as reforestation. “In no case could interventions be made in the fully protected natural reserves,” said Calvo.

The text establishes the National Strategy of Biodiversity of Andorra as an instrument of planning and coordination, and creates the Commission of coordination and development of the strategy that will have to be set up during the six months following the approval of the law. This will be formed by the Government, the comuns, the APRA, the Facip and other such associations.

In addition, the project contemplates the possibility that the Executive can legislate to avoid entry into Andorra of possible invasive plants, given that there are already cases of imported plants in the country that now compete with autochthonous plants. Related to the protection of species, the bill establishes levels of protection according to their condition. The spaces will be protected by establishing categories of Natural Parks, when at least two comuns are involved; nature reserves and natural monuments, everything depends on the surface area, the interest and the need for protection

The project requires the comuns to have forest management plans in the two years following the approval of the law. These will be necessary to conserve the landscape and the ecosystem but also for protection against natural risks.

The text limits camping, professional activities, motor vehicle access, holding events or collecting protected species.

If the bill is passed, fines of between 60 to 300 euros will be applied for minor infractions, up to 3,000 euros for serious ones, and up to 12,000 for very serious infractions.

The Government approved yesterday the Energy Infrastructure Sector Plan that identifies the equipment needed to increase before 2030 the energy production of up to 33% of the demand. Calvó stressed that according to the text presented to the parliament and to the public, only one change has been carried out relating to an incompatibility of the future hydroelectric equipment at Fontaneda with another infrastructure.