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Road to sustainability—Formentera takes formentera.eco plan for legislative term to Consell d’Entitats

foto-formentera.eco 2020 2Members of the Consell d’Entitats gathered this evening, Thursday 30 January, to take a look back on the first year of formentera.eco and to discuss the objectives as the project moves forward. “The goal is the same whatever we do”, pointed out president and tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, “and that’s to make Formentera a sustainable island tourists and residents can enjoy right now”. But that’s not all, Ferrer said: “It’s also about making sure future generations can enjoy Formentera, too”.

Formentera first embarked on its journey toward sustainability years ago, said Ferrer, who held up a host of measures like the plan to regulate incoming vehicles at Ses Salines nature reserve, the installation of e-vehicle recharge points, Save Posidonia Project and the system to constrict vehicle access to Es Cap de Barbaria. “The idea behind formentera.eco came from islanders”, said Ferrer, who added that the people of Formentera have “always been there to guide us on this path”. “That’s why we’re here now: to share our proposal for this legislative term, and this year, with the Consell d’Entitats”.

Greater reliance on sustainability
Mobility councillor Rafael González unpacked the figures from year-one of regulation and outlined the proposal for 2020-2023. “Formentera.eco has enabled us to buck the trend of increasingly crowded roads in summertime”, he said, explaining that the number of cars in circulation had dropped by 2%, pulling highway traffic down by 8% and giving rise to 1.6% and 29% increases, respectively—compared to 2018—in use of public transport and bicycles. “We’ve begun reshaping local mobility, and we’re relying more on sustainable models”, González quipped.

The main goal of formentera.eco is to do just that: more pedestrian zones, more room for bicycles, more public transportation...and fewer trips in personal vehicles. As González says, “this kind of mobility is crucial to the wellbeing of our residents and visitors”.

Proposals for 2020
2020 regulation plans include creating a mobility info point in La Savina harbour and new cycling lanes in La Savina and Sant Ferran, not to mention checks of signage across the island’s network of 32 natural trails and outreach to encourage islanders to use the trails. The local fleet of taxis is also expected to grow in 2020 by 17%, bringing the total number of cabs on the road to 41—up from 35 the previous year.

Improvements to public transport are coming down the pike, too, with the bus service expanding by 18% to accommodate a new route and increasingly frequent service. The changes will bring the total number of routes to seven, and buses will run from 6.00am to 12 midnight, with special night-owl service from midnight to 1.15am. For the first time ever, public transport will be free for riders under 18. Moreover, a new service concessionaire is set to be designated in 2021, and with it, more improvements are expected; the service will expand to nine routes and an even more robust nighttime service.

formentera.eco 2020-2023
The measures detailed above are all part of what González called an “orderly and gradual” regulatory rollout, and indicated the upper limit on permitted vehicles was expected to fall by 16% in four years. “We’re convinced that these improvements to mobility will bring about natural changes in the way people move”, said González, describing the eventual endpoint as “a more sustainable mobility”.

formentera.eco 2020
The ceiling on vehicles will likely be lowered by 4% in 2020. Last year the official limit was 22,382, however, only 21,929 motorists were given authorisation to drive cars on the island. The official limit this year will be 21,487.

The question of when regulation would be enforced was also put to attendees of the meeting. They were asked whether enforcement should go from 1 July to 31 August, or be expanded—begining the last week of June and extending across the first week in September. Visitors must pay €1/day for cars and 50 cents for motor-scooters (minimums—€5 for the former and €2.50 for the latter—are also established).

Permission to bring a vehicle and operate it on the island can be requested in advance. Such “pre-reservations” (prereserves) can be made from March on the formentera.eco website and formalised starting in April. Authorisation is guaranteed for people who have already reserved overnight lodging or ferry tickets for vehicle passage. A specific portal will be made available for related inquiries on formentera.eco.

The Consell d’Entitats’ member groups have been given one week to report the 2020-2023 proposal back to their associates; two additional sessions have been called for Thursday 6 February at 7.30pm (first group) and 8.00pm (second group).

30 January 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera