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Formentera to become first island in Spain to limit cars 

Formentera, just five miles from Ibiza, is to become the first island in Spain to limit the entry of cars from next summer.

Locals have been fed-up for years about the effect of too many vehicles in the high season, with the “permanent” estimate of 20,700 cars on the island soaring 450 per cent to 94,000.

Now, residents are rejoicing after the Balearic Government approved a bill to ensure the “environmental and economic sustainability” of Formentera.

This will allow the island’s own council to regulate the access of vehicles to the island which covers just 32 square metres and has a population of 10,000.

The bill will go to the regional parliament and is expected to come into force in time for the main tourist season of 2019.

The precise number of vehicles which will be allowed onto the island has not yet been set but is expected to be a huge reduction.

“It’s very remarkable be-cause I think it’s the first time this has happened in the Spanish state,” said Formentera’s president, Jaume Ferrer.

The council will be allowed to set its own quotas and restrictions, not just for the summer but all-year-round as well.

There will be exceptions for residents, people with reduced mobility, lorries carrying supplies and people who live on Formentera but work else-where, as well as a quota for residents of Ibiza, Formentera’s “sister” island. All vehicles that are authorised will have to display a mandatory badge.

There will also be a ceiling on the number of rental vehicles allowed on the island.

Police will be responsible for the checks but shipping companies will be required to inform passengers of the need to have a permit if they are trying to bring a car onto the island but it will be the driver’s responsibilities, not the boat’s.

Anyone caught breaching the new rules can be fined up to 10,000 euros if it is considered a serious infraction. For a minor breach, the fine will be 1,000 euros.

President of the Balearic Government, Francina Armen-gol said the law will be a pioneer at the European level and praised Formentera for wanting to defend its environment.

“They want to present the island as what it is: a magnificent space that needs preservation of its territory and the balance between residents and tourists who come to visit the island, many every year,” she said.

Other islands, including the Balearics, are considering limits as well but not this soon.

“Many will have their eyes on what has been approved in Formentera but each island is absolutely different,” said Francina Armengol . “What is done in Formentera is not the same as what can be proposed for Ibiza, Mallorca or Menorca.”