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Formentera begins regulating vehicle entry

inici-regulacio-formenteraIn a press conference held today, the Formentera Council's president and councillor of mobility, Alejandra Ferrer and Rafael González, announced details about a system to regulate how motorists bring vehicles to the island—plus how they drive and park once they are here—which will be in place from 1 July to 31 August.

Marking the launch of a programme which is the first of its kind in Spain, President Ferrer called it “a historic day”. “Our future and sustainability are inextricably intwined”, she said, “so we've taken this bold step to make the island sustainable financially, environmentally and socially, too”.

Ferrer reminded islanders of the twists and turns that have occurred since 2014, when residents asked authorities to regulate vehicle entry on the island as a way to reduce congestion on roads during the central months of summer. Legislation for Formentera's environmental and economic sustainability passed on 29 January, laying the groundwork for the Formentera Council to take the reins on capping the vehicles being driven on local roads in summer.

1 July is the first day of “regulated entry”. Companies that transport vehicles to Formentera collaborate by reminding motorists that special permission will now be required to drive. According to Councillor González, passengers will also be informed that “if they haven't gotten it yet, space is still available and authorisation can be requested on formentera.eco during the trip from Eivissa to Formentera”. Several weeks back, ferry companies began announcing on their websites that special accreditation would be required to operate a vehicle on the island in July and August.

The summer driving permit is free for all residents of the Balearic islands. Non-resident tourists must pay €1/day to operate a car and €0.50/day for scooters. Fines for motorists caught driving without the permit range from €1,000 to €10,000, though Councillor González said the priority now would be to educate drivers, and that fines would only be issued as a last resort. A camera installed at the only point of vehicle ingress and exit on the island—at carrer Almadrava in la Savina—will automatically check entering vehicles' plate number against the master list of authorised vehicles, and unauthorised vehicles will trigger an alert.

The mobility councillor pointed out that, on average, roughly twenty thousand vehicles—cars or scooters—can be on the road on any given day of the implementation period. Last summer, the total number of vehicles on the island peaked at twenty-two thousand. González explained that authorities used last year's maximum to set this summer's cap, ensuring that “for the first time ever, Formentera is on track to buck the trend of ever-increasing vehicles on our roads”.

The initiative will be reappraised before next summer to see to it necessary upgrades are performed and, in the words of González, to “make sure we hit our sustainability mark—to be a place that tourists want to visit and where we islanders want to live, now and in the years ahead”.

Educational campaign

The Formentera Council is also behind an information push that includes handing out six thousand pamphlets across ticket counters at the Eivissa and Formentera ferry docks and tourist information points. The outreach initiative's architects have put together a video for distribution on CiF social media accounts and viewing on ferry journeys. Translated in Catalan, Castilian Spanish, English and Italian, the initiative is aimed at reviewing the measure and linking it with the goal of local sustainability.

Complete details on the regulating scheme are also available on the formentera.eco reservation portal.

1 July 2019
Office of Communication
Formentera Council