Phil Bennion, Lib Dem MEP for the Black Country and West Midlands region, is highlighting the cases of hundreds of people who retired to Spain and are under threat from a loophole in Spanish law, where local planning approvals could be over-ruled and developments declared illegal under the Coastal Law. The coastal law was passed to protect scenic areas of coastline from development but was applied inconsistently, with some homes near seawater canals being declared illegal by regional governments as they were in a ‘coastal’ zone.

Some have been demolished without compensation and the owners left without legal redress.

 A plan to amend the Coastal Law

The Spanish Government has now announced a plan to amend the Coastal Law (the Ley de Costas), after protests from MEPs from several countries were backed by the European Commission. Phillip Bennion comments:

“The Spanish authorities have the right to protect their coastline and decide their planning system, but it is also vital that the law in any EU country is clear and consistent for EU citizens who own, or plan to own, property.

“This change shows the new Spanish government has decided to sort out the mess. It is welcome news. It will not only ease the fears of UK citizens who want to live or invest in Spain, it will also boost the Spanish economy and property market.”

“The preliminary draft law is available online and is up for consultation. I want to make sure everyone with an interest in the issue understands the changes and has a say.”

An English summary of the proposal is now available on the website of the Spanish Ministry for Environment:


EU Citizens can comment on the draft by emailing to