Official Journal of the European Communities Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission (22 March 1999)

C 325/83

The Commission is collecting the information it needs to answer the question. It will communicate its findings as soon as possible.

(1999/C 325/107)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-0186/99 by Angela Sierra González (GUE/NGL) to the Commission (11 February 1999)

Subject: Development of the Charcas Ponds de San Lorenzo (Gran Canaria, Canary Islands) A number of environmental groups have condemned the proposals to build a golf course in the area known as the ‘Charcas de San Lorenzo’, which is located within the municipality of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and forms part of the ‘Pino Santo’ nature protection area, the status of which is recognised under Canary Islands environmental law. The enclave possesses a wide range of natural and cultural assets. Its classification as a wetland merits its inclusion as a ‘priority natural habitat’ in Annex I of Directive 92/43 (1) on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, under the category ‘Mediterranean temporary pond’. The Commission has particular responsibility for the conservation of such areas. The ponds are also home to an interesting variety of migratory birds which are included in Annex I of Directive 79/409 (2) on the conservation of wild birds in the European Community. The species in question include a number of birds which nest in the area (egret, heron, coot, etc.). A citizens’ group has submitted an alternative plan for the recovery and rehabilitation of the ponds in an attempt to prevent a golf course from being built, which would inevitably result in the loss of the area’s natural assets. Is the Commission aware of the above facts? Does the Commission consider protection of the area in question to be compatible with the building of a golf course?
(1) (2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7. OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1.

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission (4 March 1999) The Commission had not been aware of these facts. The site referred to has not been designated as a special protection area (SPA) for birds under Directive 79/409/ EEC. Nor has it been scientifically listed as a major bird-conservation area. This site was not put forward by Spain for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network in pursuance of Directive 92/43/EEC. The Honourable Member states that it contains a priority type of habitat as described in Annex I to that Directive (temporary Mediterranean ponds). Nevertheless, according to the reference list of habitat types and species in the Macaronesian region approved by the ‘Habitat’ Committee, that type of habitat does not exist in the Canary Islands. The natural appeal of that site would thus appear more national than Community.