The Sierra Escalona is the range of hills to the right of the San Miguel de Salinas to Campomor road and is currently under threat of destruction by developers.
Last Sunday one hundred walkers took part in a protest walk organised by the campaign group Amigos de Sierra Escalona.The group would like to see the PAU21 development halted until an environmental impact assessment has been carried out.
They say that the plans to build yet more new homes and a golf course will, not only damage the natural environment, but will add further strain to the region’s already stretched water supplies. The Amigos are also lobbying the Valencian Government to extend the protected green area from 4,700 hectares to 11,000 hectares.
The PAU 21 development falls within the zone the campaign group believes should be kept safe from the constructors because it is the home to ancient Mediterranean pines and protected palms. It is also home to golden eagles, Griffon vultures, buzzards and peregrine falcons which feed on red-legged partridges and rabbits. The birds will disappear once their habitat is destroyed and their food is gone.
The group argue that the blame for the uncontrolled building in Orihuela sits firmly in the lap of the ruling Partido Popular party, which continues to sanction yet more unwanted housing developments, such as those in Cala Mosca and Villamartin.
The PAU21 development has already had a devastating effect on Sierra Escalona, with roads and roundabouts already carved out, and a half-built bridge crossing a rambla.The bulldozers have also flattened a huge area that once contained hundreds of pine trees, ready to make way for new homes. One of the roads leading to the development runs across the Camino Real, a cattle path and public right of way.