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Farmland reserve swells to more than 100 hectares

rp cens terresThe councillor of rural affairs, Bartomeu Escandell, explained today that after six months in operation, the Cens de Terres de Cultiu programme (roughly translated as 'farmland reserve') has acquired 105 hectares for cultivation this winter by the Formentera farmers' collective. Escandell thanked Formentera residents for participating by donating their unused land, which will now serve for the further beautification of the Formentera countryside and —quite literally— bear the fruits that will revive the primary sector of the local economy.

The councillor encouraged other owners of unused plots to cede them for tilling by the farmers' cooperative. He noted that donated plots typically remain in the cooperative's possession for a period of three to five years and that, in addition to being cost-free for the owners, the process results in material returns — «including money saved on maintenance costs, improvements to the land and discounts on products and services from the cooperative».

Developing the agricultural sector
Councillor Escandell emphasised the goal of the cooperative is to «provide local products for the farmers' market, streamline the revival of Formentera's primary sector and supply the service sector». In 2015, the Formentera Council put forward €95,000 to fund the start of activity at the cooperative. The group also required an investment of €590,000 — a third of the money came from the Leader programme and the rest were provided by the Formentera Council — to fund construction of the group's warehouse space, which Escandell announced would be ready before year end.

For his part, Carlos Marí, the cooperative's head manager, explained that 46 property owners have signed up for the reserve, with the 105 hectares of donated land coming from a total of 68 different plots. Mr Marí explained that the cooperative is currently getting the land ready for sowing operations in November and December. According to the group's head, plans are to sow mostly local flora, including barley and wheat. He confided: «The objective is to supply local stockbreeders with the feed they currently must buy from non-local sources», thus reaching self-sufficiency for the island's livestock animal feed.

Firefighters bring under control 150-sq.-metre blaze in Es Brolls

Incendi Es BrollsThe Formentera fire brigade classified as “under control” a wildfire that broke out next to a eight-metre-long motor home and its neighbouring patio. Before being put out, the flames had burned through a total of 150 square metres, nine of which were laden with Savina junipers.

Notice of the fire came at 10:54 in the evening from an off-shoot of the Es Brolls country road in Sant Ferran and by one in the morning firefighters declared the blaze under control. Brigade members, who declared the cause of the incident to be unknown, highlighted that no injuries were reported. At the scene of the emergency were three Formentera firefighters, members of the local police, civil protection forces, the Guárdia Civil and Ibanat.

On car free day, bus users ride no charge

dia sense cotxe premsaToday, Tuesday 22 September, the Formentera Council's office of transport feted European Car Free Day. All day long, to mark the occasion, ticket requirements were waived on bus lines 1 and 2 and —as transport councillor Rafael González explained— this morning organisers pitched an exhibition of electric vehicles at the plaça de la Constitució in Sant Francesc.

Promoting a sustainable island
González declared that the goal of the two actions had been to «strive for sustainable transport on the island, and to make this something that sets us apart». The dimensions of Formentera, said the councillor, «make it the ideal island for the promotion of these kinds of vehicles, which are increasingly feasible».

«This is exactly why the administration has long been behind the effort to promote their use», he elaborated. González highlighted some of the advantages of electric cars: parking in blue and green zones of la Savina and access to the Parc Natural de Ses Illetes that are both free of charge, as well as a 75% reduction on the local circulation tax.

Network of recharge points
In due form, the Formentera Council has built up a network of 12 electric vehicle recharge stations, scattered across the different urban centres of the island. With the totality of the costs met by the administration, the stations allow 28 drivers to charge their automobiles completely free.

The day's exhibition of electric cars and scooters enjoyed the participation of two of the three Formentera businesses that have made important investments in sustainable transport, Cooltra and Europcar. Also on display were an electric scooter from the Formentera Local Police vehicle fleet and an electric bicycle available to Council staff. Residents and tourists alike were given the opportunity to get a close-up look at how the two vehicles work.

Camí Vell nursery school to operate year round

escoletaThe education office of the Formentera Council has announced that the latest edition to the island's schools —the Camí Vell escoleta— will stay open all year long. Such was the announcement made by Susana Labrador, the local councillor of educational affairs. Labrador noted the nursery was originally intended as a relief resource for parents during the summer months, May to October. However, parents' requests that the school remain open even after summer's end were behind the decision to expand the service.

Start of the school year
Today was the first day of the 2015-2016 school year at the escoletes (nurseries) of Formentera. The two centres —Sa Miranda, which has seven classrooms, and Camí Vell, which has two— now boast 121 students and 15 teachers. At present seven available places at the Camí Vell nursery counter a twelve-child waiting list at Sa Miranda. Councillor Labrador announced that in the coming days families awaiting word from Sa Miranda would be contacted and given the opportunity to fill the spots still free at the Camí Vell escoleta. After that, the two schools' wait lists will be combined.

Escoletes represent the first stage in the educational process, creating a space where families can share the caregiving load. The goal is to forge an environment where growth can take place and children can be together. The spaces are conceived to facilitate creation, experimentation, fun and experience-sharing, all in a context that respects a variety of personal rhythms and styles.

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