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Consell d'Entitats kicks off discussion of formentera.eco scheme to count and cap vehicles brought on island

foto 2022 CdE 1At 8.00pm yesterday, representatives of local entities and associations gathered for a meeting of the Formentera Consell d'Entitats (CdE) that was focused on taking stock of the 2021 results of formentera.eco, a scheme to regulate the number of vehicles brought and driven on the island, and reviewing a proposal to carry the project forward in 2022. At the end of the first session, CdE members received a copy of the proposal and were asked to share it with their respective associates. On Tuesday 18 January, the CdE will reconvene for a second session to gather member groups' feedback and vote on the proposal.
In light of restrictions stemming from tier 3 public health alert, participants were asked to join the gathering online. In-person attendees included Ana Juan, President of the Consell de Formentera; Rafael González, Councillor of Mobility, and Vanessa Parellada, Councillor of Citizen Participation, as well as the secretary of the gathering and the department specialist of the Formentera Office of Citizen Participation. Members of associations, political parties and the local cabinet were able to follow the event online. A total of twenty individuals logged in.
President Juan traced the scheme to count and cap vehicles brought and driven on Formentera to a popular request gathered by the CdE and to collaboration between local and regional government aimed at creating legislation for "a more sustainable brand of mobility for Formentera". In that connection, the President said it was in 2019, when formentera.eco first launched, that local legislators set the scheme's current goal of 16% fewer vehicles on the island, shrinking annually by 4% until reaching the desired total.

Today, despite the pandemic, "it is plain to see that regulation is necessary", Juan asserted. As for the first CdE session, Juan signalled it would "serve to take stock of regulation in summer 2020 and to explain the proposed fees and regulatory timeline which will come up for a vote in next week's session".
formentera.eco in 2021

The Councillor of Mobility reported on formentera.eco in 2021, during which time a daily limit of 20,591 vehicles was in effect. "Not once was that ceiling surpassed, which means that we made good on one of our regulatory goals", said González, "but the drop in vehicles failed to make a difference in islanders' sense of saturation on the road in August".
During the 24 days from 4 to 27 August, visiting motorists accounted for 90% of the allotted vehicle quota. And, for five days during the same month (14-16 and 19-20 August), the quota was reached.
Summer 2021 data

Of particular note last season was visiting motorists' shorter-than-average stay of between three and four days. Moreover, 40% of bookings by visiting drivers were for just one day. Sensor and survey data additionally indicate another noteworthy feature: an increase in overall vehicle trips. While in 2019 the average visitor took two trips a day, in 2021 the daily average was 2.9.

Other 2019 and 2021 comparisons

Seventy percent more cyclists were observed on the island's network of nature trails (rutes verdes).
There was a 28% drop in individuals riding public buses.
Rides in taxis increased by 8%.
Daily traffic equalled that of 2019, when an 8% drop had been observed compared to 2017. However, rush hour traffic was up 11%.
Based on the data, Councillor González concluded that "regulation has driven a significant increase in bicycle and taxi use, but with the pandemic, people don't feel as safe as they once did on buses, so ridership is down". The pandemic also meant shorter stays and an increase in daily visitor trips. By González's lights, "this caused crowding on roads and, according to islanders, the feeling that there was a large number of vehicles". In that regard, Gonzalez identified imperatives like "continuing to lower the vehicle ceiling", "dissuading visitors from coming just one day" and "stepping up controls".

formentera.eco in 2022

Consell d'Entitats members will review the following proposal:
Lower the 2019 ceiling by an additional 4%.
2020: - 4 %
2021: - 8 %
2022: - 12 %
2023: -16 % (legislative term target)
In 2022, the vehicle ceiling will be set at 19,696 – dropping under twenty thousand for the first time.

Discussion of regulatory timeline and fees

The CdE session included discussion of the 2022 calendar of regulatory enforcement and fees. Association representatives will consult with their associates and a vote will be taken next week at the second session.

Option 1: 15 June to 15 September.
Option 2: Last week in June to first week in September (as in 2021).

Option 1: treble current fees (passenger cars: €3/day [minimum payment: €15]; motorcycles: €1.50/day [minimum payment: €7.50]).
Option 2: double current fees (passenger cars: €2/day [minimum payment: €10]; motorcycles: €1/day [minimum payment: €5]).

2022 bookings

The summer 2022 bookings website will come online in the second half of February. The current rate of €1/day for cars (minimum: €5) and €0.50/day for motorcycles and mopeds (minimum: €2.50) will be applied until a modified rate is adopted in April or May. Accreditation will be free for residents of Formentera and the Balearic Islands and individuals with electric vehicles.

Until the bookings website goes online, all accommodation and ferry reservations will guarantee accreditation for reservation holders.
Sustainable mobility
Councillor González described the end-game of formentera.eco as "achieving an island where mobility is sustainable and where pedestrians, bicycles and riders of public transport enjoy increased prevalence to the detriment of private vehicles".
In 2022, €270,000 will be allocated to restore the public bus service to pre-pandemic levels and recover 28% of the riders lost in 2021. Likewise, the service will remain free of charge for residents and visitors under 18 and for residents and visitors with disabilities and their companions.
Councillor Gonzalez announced an agreement with the local chauffeurs' association that 49 taxis (25 ordinary and 24 seasonal permits) would provide summer service in 2022 and 2023 for a 29% increase relative to summer 2021, when 38 taxis (25 ordinary and 13 seasonal permits) were in circulation.
Other pre-season efforts will include encouraging pedestrians and cyclists to use the Camí des Brolls path linking La Savina, Sant Francesc and Es Pujols and closing traffic to motor vehicles, except for area residents. In addition, residents will continue to receive assistance to purchase traditional and electric bicycles.
Reinforced controls and new information drives

Lastly, Councillor González highlighted plans to bolster control systems. The island currently has cameras in place in La Savina and a mobile camera. In 2022, cameras will be installed at the hospital roundabout; attendants will also monitor parked vehicles, and drivers of rental cars must display information about their rental contract when they park in La Savina.

Before regulatory enforcement resumes, to ensure that all motorists, whether island residents or not, possess the authorisation to drive and park their vehicles on local roads, in May the Consell will lead an educational push tailored for this purpose.

12 January 2022
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Consell strikes deal for use and revitalisation of Casa del Poble de la Mola

foto 2021 conveni casa del pobleEarlier today Alejandra Ferrer and Vicent Roselló signed a deal whereby local government lets La Mola Neighbourhood Association use the multipurpose administrative spaces and cultural centre known as “Casa del Poble de la Mola” and funds programming to enliven the facilities. The Consell de Formentera president and representative of LMNA were joined at the signing by Vanessa Parellada, chief of the Formentera Department of Citizen Participation.

Under the arrangement, Formentera’s government pledges to help LMNA cover the costs of programming and other services to the tune of €30,000. Meanwhile, LMNA promises to use the money in 2021 for upkeep and other expenses linked to maintaining the Casa’s catalogue of services, not to mention to publicise and support LMNA activities, including through community outreach.

Besides supporting upkeep and services, the aim of the funding is to help LMNA make the surrounding community more socially and culturally dynamic by organising and coordinating non-profit programming at least once a week except in summer. LMNA will also staff the Casa’s computer lab, facilitate access to Casa spaces, give logistical support for Consell-organised events that are held at the Casa, and more.

19 July 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

Scheme to count and cap vehicles on local roads extended into June and September

foto 2021 2a sessio CdEThe island’s league of civic associations reconvened last night at 7.30pm to share respective members’ feedback on formentera.eco and two different propositions regarding the scheme’s period of enforcement, a majority of attendees ultimately opting to extend the ceiling on vehicles over a longer period.

Mobility chief Rafael González described the decision by the Consell d’Entitats to extend formentera.eco’s July-August enforcement by a fortnight, including the last week in June and the first week in September, as “unprecedented”.

“Our vision for Formentera is underpinned by sustainability-forward projects like formentera.eco”, said Alejandra Ferrer. “These are crucial because they keep Formentera unique and natural. Plus, they strike a balance between ecology, tourism and the quality of life of islanders — so it’s all the more important that these processes incorporate participatory tools like the Consell d’Entitats.”

All told 29 associations and three political parties were represented at the gathering. The option of elongating the formentera.eco enforcement period secured 16 votes, while each of the other options —keeping regulation limited to July and August, and abstention— obtained half that number. Citizen participation councillor Vanessa Parellada said she was pleased with turnout at both sessions and with how quickly participants took to the virtual format.

Two related sessions of the Consell d’Entitats have been held online amid enhanced tier 4 public health regulations. Attending in person were President Ferrer, Councillor González, Councillor Parellada, a clerk and a senior Department of Citizen Participation staffer, with civic group and political party representatives, together with members of the media, tuning in online.

formentera.eco 2020
Councillor González gave attendees a recap of his presentation from the previous session, highlighting local legislators’ goal, one year prior to formentera.eco rollout, of reducing vehicles on island roads by 16%. Decision makers set yearly -4% benchmarks, hoping to hit the goal gradually over the 2020-2024 term. The incremental goal for 2020 was reached.

formentera.eco 2021

Proposal terms as communicated to Consell d’Entitats:

Reduce ceiling by 4% (relative to 2020 figures)
2019: 22,382
2020: 21,486
2021: 20,591

Regulatory period subject to discussion
The majority of civic groups backed Option 1, extending regulation over the last week in June and into the first week of September.

Fee-based or free of charge? Pending developments in the public health situation.

Councillor González reminded attendees that free advance reservations could be made in the permit request section of the formentera.eco site, which is expected to be back online in March. Bookings will be finalised in May and, pending developments of the pandemic, will be free or subject to payment. The fee-based scheme would see tourists paying €1 a day (€5 minimum) for compact cars and €0.50/day (€2.50 minimum) for motorbikes and scooters, with Formentera residents getting authorisation free of charge.

Authorisation is also guaranteed for travellers with bookings for overnight accommodations or arrangements to travel with a personal vehicle made before March.

Sustainable mobility
By González’s lights, “the formentera.eco endgame is a brand of sustainable mobility where foot traffic, bikes and public transport all gain ground against cars”. He pointed to a number of routes forward on the path to sustainability, like encouraging islanders to use public transport or a bike, and enlisting communications tools to spotlight sustainable ways to get around the island.

23 February 2021
Communications Department
Consell de Formentera

This 2020, Consell d’Entitats’ participatory spending rerouted to help local families get through crisis

On behalf of the local cabinet, Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer addressed a letter to the associations of the Consell d’Entitats to applaud their solidarity and generosity: after submitting projects to the island’s Pressupostos Participatius (Participatory Spending) initiative, member groups accepted a proposal from the cabinet to “invest the initiative’s 2020 budget of €325,000 in assistance for individuals and businesses, part of a bid to soften the economic blow of the crisis on Formentera families and leave no one behind”.

As individuals and from positions within local groups, islanders are offering to help any way they can. Take the parents’ group at Mestre Lluís Andreu primary school, which contacted the Formentera Department of Citizen Participation to suggest that the 2020 Pressupostos Participatius budget be freed up for investment in social causes. The department connected with the other groups that had submitted ideas for this year’s round of the initiative, and according to President Ferrer, the response was unanimous: today, the priority is those most in need.

Pressupostos Participatius invites Formentera-based groups to not only participate in administering local public spending, but at the same time, learn about the workings of government and management of public money. Similar to the local government’s own budgetary retooling, the proposed change unfolds against a backdrop of transforming priorities, and speaks both to the maturity of the Consell d’Entitats and to the humanity and solidarity of Formentera’s associations. “We’re enormously proud of you”, said Ferrer.

The money—€325,000 previously earmarked for 2020 Pressupostos Participatius—will be allocated for assistance. Projects that won the Consell d’Entitats’ support in previous years remain on track for execution as soon as the current situation permits.

Other budgetary changes
Many individuals, families and businesses on Formentera are already feeling the grave economic consequences of the health crisis. The central and regional governments alike have implemented various measures, including a Guaranteed Social Income (Renda Social Garantida), renter’s assistance and programmes to help businesses and freelancers obtain liquidity.

The Consell is working hard to keep islanders informed about available assistance and to process applications, simultaneously taking steps to extend how far its own resources go to help at-risk families. All branches of the island’s administration are now engaged in work on a package of measures to ease the pressure of fees and levies assessed at the local level. A budgetary retooling is in the works that will free up a maximum amount of available resources for much needed assistance.

Go-ahead recently came from Madrid so that the Consell could divert €200,000 of its 2019 surplus to social assistance. The local government has asked for permission to use the whole surplus to that end.

21 April 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Road to sustainability—island prepares to reactivate formentera.eco to limit in-bound vehicles in July and August

foto-segona-sessio---consell-e3The Consell d’Entitats reconvened today, Thursday 6 February, in the second of two sessions devised to appraise member groups of plans for formentera.eco in 2020. After an initial gathering last week where the proposal was unveiled, today’s session saw groups get answers to some of their questions surrounding the measure and a vote on exactly when “regulated vehicle entry” will be enforced in 2020.

Citizen participation councillor Vanessa Parellada oversaw the event, which administration chief Alejandra Ferrer kicked off with a look back at the “three-pronged sustainable tourism strategy” used by Formentera to court visitors in recent years. “We’re talking about making the island economically, ecologically and socially sustainable”, said Ferrer, “it’s a brand of sustainability that’s grounded in quality of life—and not just for residents, but also with regard to the experience of our visitors”. “Since the very start, formentera.eco has been about keeping Formentera special; maintaining what sets us apart from other destinations; preserving our sense of tranquility; making sure that people can continue to enjoy the island today and for generations to come”.

formentera.eco 2020
For his part, mobility councillor Rafael González indicated that 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. After comments were heard, participants put the issue to a vote, agreeing to reinstate enforcement from 1 July to 31 August 2020, namely, peak tourist season.

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.

Highlighting “a clear path forward this legislative term for an orderly and gradual reduction of highway saturation”, Councillor González indicated that the upper limit on permitted vehicles was expected to fall by four per cent every year—or 16% in four years. Discussion also centred on upgrades ahead to public transport—part of making sure that, for islanders and tourists alike, mobility becomes increasingly sustainable.

6 February 2020
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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