Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Spring for a month or so
'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Friday, 22 April 2016

Local Politics in Mazarron - Camposol and District Independent Party (CDiP) - open letter to members

I've written about CDiP before, in November 2015 (see here). Since writing that last article, I have become a member of CDiP myself, so must now declare an interest.

I received today by email from CDiP a copy of "An Open Letter to our members and friends", sent out ahead of the organisation's AGM being held on 12th May 2016; for those who may read this article, and who live or own properties within the Mazarron municipality, and more specifically at Camposol or MCC, but who are not [yet] members of CDiP, you may be interested to read what it has to say by clicking here. (PS/ If you do not already have a .pdf reader installed, you can download a free piece of software from Adobe here to enable you to download the linked document.)

PS/ If relevant to you and you wish to have more information about joining CDiP, please click on the link at the top of this article, as the newsletter linked to from that earlier article provides contact details.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Murcia Region (Spain) planning to extend number of beaches which permit dog access

A meeting has been held at Murcia Region's Consejería de Agua, Agricultura y Medio Ambiente (Ministry of Water, Agriculture and Environment), chaired by Murcia Region's Minister in this department, Adela Martínez-Cachá, at which were present the mayors of several municipalities in the Region with beaches (Mazarrón, Águilas, San Pedro del Pinatar, Los Alcázares and San Javier), to discuss extending access for dogs on named beaches.

Representing Mazarrón at the meeting were the Mayoress, Alicia Jiménez, and the Councillor of Tourism, María Ángeles Román. Mazarrón was the first municipality in Murcia Region to permit dog access to certain beaches in recent years, when it decided last year to allow such access on three beaches (I wrote about this in a blog article in February 2015 - you can read it here).

The present meeting was called to take into account a petition signed by 4,148 residents of Murcia Region asking for authorisation for beach access for their pet dogs in clearly delineated beaches and beach pathways for recreation and walking. Sra. Martínez-Cachá stressed "the importance and need for these spaces for the use and enjoyment of citizens with their pets, and in addition to responding to the demands of citizens, also contribute to being a tourist attraction". The meeting has agreed to work on common signage and standardize usage rules for municipalities to have more facilities when enabling public spaces for canine recreation. One presumes from this that the Mazarrón "experiment" since last year is considered successful and can safely be extended in a controlled way to other parts of Murcia Region.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Toll motorway charges for 2016 in Spain using the AP-7 Cartagena to Vera motorway

As mentioned in an article in this blog about 10 days ago (see here), the Ministry of Development (Ministerio de Fomento) has agreed that motorway toll tariffs will fall by about 0.6% in 2016, compared with tariffs for 2015.

Full details of the revised tariff for 2016 for the AP-7 Cartagena-Vera toll motorway are now available. The tariff reduction is minor, generally 5 or 10 Euro-cents for most sectors and in a few cases the tariff for 2016 remains at 2015 levels. For example the toll fee on the Cartagena to Mazarrón sector falls from €5.80 to €5.75 .

The full tariff for 2016 may be downloaded from the Aucosta website here (.PDF document). Abridged details of the new tariff may be viewed in relevant pages of my own Spanish website, for example here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Toll motorway charges in Spain are to fall by 0.6% in 2016

(Please see UPDATE at end)

It is being reported by industry sources, in newspaper articles published today, that toll motorway fees in Spain are to fall by 0.6% in 2016, the first fall in at least 15 years. There are no details yet of how this will affect specific sectors in the toll motorway network; usually such detailed information becomes available only during January.

According to data released by the Ministry of Development (Ministerio de Fomento) up until the month of October traffic in the toll motorway network has increased by 6.38% (17,759 vehicles) per day, and it is hoped that the reduction in toll fees will help to further the recovery in traffic experienced since the financial crisis hit the country about 8 years ago causing toll motorway traffic to fall substantially. The fall in toll fees is a result of the application of a formula for automatic annual toll fee adjustments agreed with the government in 2002. Further details of how this formula operates are in the linked articles (see 'sources' below).

It may be recalled that for 2015 it was agreed to freeze most toll fees at the rates applying in 2014 (my article published in January 2015 about this is here).

Sources
- El peaje de las autopistas bajará un 0,6% en 2016, su primer descenso en 15 años (elEconomista.es)
- El peaje de las autopistas bajará en 2016 por primera vez en quince años (expansion.com)

UPDATE (31DEC2015 18.05 GMT) Full details of the revised tariff for 2016 for the AP-7 Cartagena-Vera toll motorway are now available. The tariff reduction is minor, generally 5 or 10 Euro-cents and in a few cases the tariff for 2016 remains at 2015 levels. The full tariff for 2016 may be downloaded from the Aucosta website here (.PDF document). Abridged details of the new tariff may be viewed in relevant pages of my own Spanish website, for example here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Local Politics in Mazarron - Camposol and District Independent Party (CDIP)

Prior to the last local elections in Spain, a new political grouping was formed in the Mazarron area of Murcia Region, designed largely to promote the interests of residents and owners in 'urbanisations' ('urban developments') nearby, specifically those at Camposol and the 'Country Club' ('Mazarron Country Club [MCC]'). Although I was obviously very interested in this development at the time, as a non-resident and a non-voter in the local elections (not registered on the 'padron') it was of only academic interest to me, given that my home at MCC is a 'holiday home'.

Through a friend and fellow-owner (also a resident) at MCC, I have just been made aware of the latest CDIP newsletter for November 2015 in which it is indicated they wish it to be circulated as widely as possible amongst interested parties, so I thought it might be useful to post a link to it here so that those who like me me are not [yet] members of CDIP, but own properties within the Mazarron municipality, and more specifically at Camposol or MCC and who happen to read my blog, might become aware of it. Accordingly, you can find the CDIP Newsletter for November 2015 by clicking here. (PS/ If you do not already have a .pdf reader installed, you can download a free piece of software from Adobe here to enable you to download the linked document.)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Public Holidays for 2016 - Murcia Region and local to Mazarrón

I have added a list of Public Holidays for 2016, applicable to the Murcia Region of Spain and including local public holidays in Mazarrón and nearby municipalities in the Region. You can find the list, which is available for download in .pdf format, in the Links page, under 'Public Holidays', of my personal Spanish website here (where you will also find a link to download public holidays for the current year, 2015, as this may still be useful for the remainder of the year).

You can also download the .pdf file of Public Holidays in Murcia for 2016 directly from this blog article by clicking here.

For those who are interested, you can view the official Spanish source documents for this information:
- here for the .pdf version;
- here for the HTML website version;
(These are the formal Murcia Region documents which contain the decisions authorising these public holidays, as gazetted in the Official Gazette of Murcia Region ["Boletín Oficial de la Región de Murcia"].)

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Hiring a car using a British driving licence - procedures are changing

(Please see UPDATE at end)

If you are going to be renting a car any time after 8th June 2015 using a British driving licence, then you need to be aware that things are changing.

There are new DVLA procedures for when you are hiring a vehicle from next Monday (8th June), whether you are renting it in the UK or abroad. The paper counterpart is being abolished on 8th June 2015 and from then, in order to be able to hire a car, etc, in the UK or abroad, the car rental company will need to check on-line that your licence is valid and that you are not disqualified.

Until now they might have asked to see the paper counterpart (as I usually rent from the same company in Spain, they just ask to see the photo-card licence, but they never actually look at the paper counterpart or at least I don't recall them ever doing so in the last few years although I keep it in the same licence wallet as the photo-card); now you need to generate a code to give to the car rental agency so they can check it on-line if they wish. However, as the code is valid only for 72 hours (see UPDATE at end), you will need to do this within that time period and the code generated may be used once only and is 'case sensitive' - so there's a lot that can go wrong, if the desk clerk keys the code wrongly. Obviously if you will be renting a vehicle only for a part of your trip, you will still need to go on-line to generate the code within 72 hours (see UPDATE at end) of when you will be hiring it, so you need to think about this if you will be away from your usual internet connection during that critical period.

I'll be renting a car from my usual firm at the end of this month, so I've checked my details on-line with the DVLA and all seems to be in order. Here are a couple of links that may be useful in helping you to follow the required procedure:
- How to share your driving licence information (you can download a .pdf guide here).

To generate the required code, visit this page:
- DVLA’s Share Driving Licence service is available - and click on 'Share Driving Licence' - you need to know your driving licence number, your NI number and your postcode to use the service.

In theory it seems relatively straightforward, if an infernal pest. Good luck to all who need to use this service, including me!

UPDATE (21JUL2015 RST/UTC+2 15.15) On 10th July the British Government (DVLA) published an amendment to these regulations (link - click here), extending the driving licence check code period from 72 hours to 21 days, a much more sensible and practical time-limit, to avoid last-minute panics just before people are about to travel and perhaps require to hire a vehicle.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Mazarrón to permit dog access to 3 beaches

Mazarron council has adopted in unanimity a resolution to permit dogs on 3 of its beaches. The 3 beaches concerned are:
- Moreras (between Castellar and Rambla de las Moreras);
- Gachero (between Rihuete and Alamillo);
- Covaticas.

This overturns a decision by the Region of Murcia taken in 1990 to prohibit dogs on all its beaches. The new resolution taken by Mazarron will permit dogs on these 3 beaches, at all times of the year, including the bathing season.

PS/ I hope there will be adequate bins for visitors to these beaches with their dogs to put dog waste into, and that people will be responsible and use them and not allow the beaches to become fouled and unpleasant for other users; I am somewhat sceptical. I can understand why Mazarron is experimenting with this initiative, but hope they do not "kill the goose that lays the golden egg" of their tourism industry, of which its fine beaches are a very important component - but I imagine Mazarron council think they have factored all this into their decision.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Paris Terrorist Outrage

(Please see UPDATE at end)



An attack on well-known satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has killed at least 12 people, including the editor and 3 other cartoonists and 2 police officers, with at least 4 seriously and a number of others less-gravely injured. It has been reported that two (later amended to three) gunmen used assault-rifles to kill those in the office before engaging in a gunfight with police outside and using a vehicle to escape, later found abandoned in a northern Paris street. The magazine obviously lampoons many targets, but it seems clear that its satirical cartoons mocking Moslem extremists have provoked this latest awful outrage. Free speech must be defended and maintained and terrorists not permitted to prevail!

Fuller details may be read in the BBC website here, with a regularly updated news and comment feed here.

I have added this awful outrage to the permanent memorial page in my main personal website; the list of crimes marked there grows ever longer unfortunately.

(NB/ This article is cross-posted from my main blog Bill's Comment Page)

UPDATE (Sunday 11JAN2014 14.15 GMT) Events moved swiftly after the first killings on 7th January, so this update attempts to summarise concisely the events of the next two days until resolution of the initial and later outrages was achieved. Summary - death toll in 4 separate locations; 17 victims and 3 of the terrorists. It began on 7th January with an attack on well-known satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed, including the editor and 3 other cartoonists and 2 police officers, with a further 11 injured. The attack was carried out by three (two?) Moslem extremist gunmen and after a hide-and-seek operation across a wide area north-east of Paris, two were cornered in a printing works in Dammartin-en-Göele (Seine-et-Marne) and very close to the main Paris airport of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle two days later; they were killed by police when they exited the building firing weapons. On 8th January a police officer was shot dead in the Paris suburb of Montrouge by one or two terrorists. On 9th January, two different terrorists took hostages in a Kosher (i.e. Jewish) grocery store, resulting in the deaths of 4 of the hostages. One of these two terrorists was shot dead, the other has escaped and is being searched for although various reports indicate she may already have left France and perhaps have travelled to Syria. Free speech must be defended and maintained and terrorists not permitted to prevail by intimidating us into silence!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Toll motorway charges in Spain for 2015

The Ministry of Development ('Fomento') has [mostly] frozen motorway toll fees in Spain for 'autopistas' under its control for 2015 at the same levels as applied during 2014, the first time this has been done for five years. Full details are available in .pdf links for each toll motorway sector n the 'Fomento' website here.

The Aucosta website still shows a page labelled 2014 (* - see at end) for the Cartagena-Vera section of the Ap-7 'autopista' (toll motorway) but these tariffs will continue to apply during 2015, so that for example the toll charge for the Mazarron to Cartagena sector (in either direction) will remain €5.80.

You can download full details of the 2014/2015 tariff for the AP-7 Cartagena-Vera sector from the Aucosta website by clicking on the link above - then click on "Peajes y Tarifas", then then "Tarifas" and finally "Cuadro tarifas peaje 2014" to see the relevant .pdf document (and you can click here to download the full tariff table).

Similarly you can visit various pages in my own Spanish website (click on "Location") to see toll fees for selected segments (for example here, here and here - scroll to the bottom of these pages) in a more readily-accessible format.

It is I think a welcome development that the Government has frozen toll motorway tariffs; this may at least encourage a few more people to use the toll motorway network, to provide some probably badly-needed revenue to help to support essential expenditure.

The fact that toll fees for 2015 were [mostly] to be frozen at 2014-levels was first indicated in announcements published on around 8th December last, for example here, but more recent announcements have confirmed this decision, for example here; this latter link provides greater detail and in particular gives details of five exceptions where toll fees will in fact rise - the affected routes are:
- Santiago-Alto de Santo Domingo (increment of 0.51%);
- Alicante-Cartagena (increment of 1.01%) (if I have understood correctly, this will mean that the tariff for the La Zenia/Torrevieja-Cartagena section will be €2.05 for example);
- R3 Madrid-Arganda, R4 Madrid-Ocaña and R5 Madrid Navalcarnero (in all three cases the increment will be 1.96%).

* - the Aucosta tariff page has now (as at 27JAN2015) been updated to show 2015, but there are of course no changes to the actual tariff.