Sentences for crimes related to the environment and urban planning grew by 29.4% in the last year, going from 883 convictions in 2020 to 1,143 in 2021, according to the report presented this Wednesday by the State Attorney General’s Office.
Of the 1,143 convictions, 109 were for crimes against the environment, 280 for urban planning, 32 for historical heritage, 346 for flora and fauna, 109 for forest fires and 267 had to do with mistreatment of domestic animals.
In the last year, in addition, the Prosecutor’s Office opened 3,324 investigation proceedings for crimes related to the environment, 18.6% more than in 2020. Most of the investigations had to do with urban planning crimes (1,283) and with crimes against flora and fauna and fires (1,229). Of all the proceedings opened, 1,283 finally ended in a complaint or complaint by the fiscal Ministery.
The document presented dedicates a specific section to forest fires, which in the last year were below the average for the decade in terms of outbreaks. However, the number of hectares burned in the last year, 87,879, has rebounded compared to 2020, when the fire destroyed 67,516.39 hectares. The number of registered outbreaks was reduced by 5% year-on-year and 18% compared to the average of the last ten years.
In that sense, the Prosecutor’s Office estimates the number of people arrested or investigated for their involvement in fires at 450. This figure represents an increase of 3% compared to the data recorded in 2020. In addition, the Public Ministry reports that half of the claims that occurred last year were intentional or due to human negligence in the field.
In addition, the report puts on the table the danger posed by the transit of internal combustion vehicles through forested or mountain areas, since more than a quarter of the forest area that burned in 2021 was caused by sparks or accidents involving cars and other motor transport. In fact, the Public ministry cites some of the most virulent claims of the previous year in which a vehicle was behind the origin of the fire: Navalacruz (22,000 hectares), Almadén (1,500 hectares), Villarrasa (853 hectares) and Tarifa (200 hectares).