By Andrew Atkinson
Wild camping for many has the scent of adventure. However, in the “civilised” wilderness of Europe it’s not permitted to pitch a tent or park a caravan just anywhere.
Indeed, it is banned in many parts of the United Kingdom and only recently our neighbours to the west in Portugal subtly introduced new legislation that prohibits camping outside authorised campsites.
Here in Spain, wild camping is still allowed under some conditions, and checks are not strict, depending on where you go, but in principle, you are only permitted to stay overnight at parking spaces designed for motorhomes, or at campsites or at vineyards or farms, for example.
It is not permitted at any of the national parks, and neither, after 8 May, will it be allowed anywhere in the Valencian Community, as, under a new decree, wild camping is set to be banned by the Valencian Government.
Campervans and Motorhomes have been under the spotlight for many years in Spain, with Regional and Municipal councils receiving a multitude of complaints against their illegal ‘wild camping,’ particularly within coastal zones.
Every year, areas such as the Costa Blanca, receive hundreds of holidaymakers who prefer to exchange the comfort of a hotel for a caravan.
Many of these campers admit that they don’t like to go to legal campsites quoting many contributory reasons, including a lack of facilities, the distances between sites, money and freedom. However, this freedom is now going to stop.
No longer will they be able to park in Torre de Horadada by the beach, in La Zenia Boulevard, along the coast in Torrevieja or on the Avenue de Europeos in La Mata, no doubt a move that will be welcomed by many residents.
But we must also take remember that these travellers spend money on food, restaurants, fuel and other entertainment, which, during a normal year, keeps many places alive during the winter months. So with no coastal campsites between Guardamar and Torre de la Horadada, are we likely to see any initiatives from the local councils?
The ban comes into effect from May 8, after which it will be an offence to stay in a Motorhome, a caravan or a tent, overnight, apart from in designated areas/campsites/Aire.
This new ruling has led to a considerable amount of criticism both from those who approve of stricter regulations and also by those who advocate the freedom to camp in the wild.
Rubbish left on the ground, excess noise and general pollution are just some of the complaints about campers providing the reasons for this new ban.
The new Decree 10/2021 identifies that, for the purposes of protecting and safeguarding existing natural and environmental resources, free camping may not take place under this rule.