Some 8,000 children and young people from 500 youth education and leisure entities (esplais) that were supposed to carry out their summer camps in various areas next to the rivers in Catalonia see the possibility of carrying out these activities in danger, due to complex procedures and the requirement of having to demonstrate in many cases that the chosen area is suitable and is not flood-prone.

At the beginning of the month, the promoters of this activity received a denial of their request from the General Directorate of Youth to be able to carry out activities in nature due to the risk of flooding in the different chosen camping grounds.

The different affected groups (Esplac, Minyons Escoltes i Guies de Catalunya, Escoltes Catalans, the Fundació Pere Tarrés and Acció Escolta) have made a joint complaint in which they show their displeasure and denounce to the public the administrative difficulties imposed by the regulations of the ACA and that, according to them, complicate “year after year” obtaining permits. In addition, the entities complain of not having had a “formal response” from this agency to their requests to facilitate their processing. “We want the effects to be minimal, but in the end it is not up to us to be able to go to camps or not. We feel that they have left us aside and have never given us a clear answer to this problem,” they say from Esplac.

A spokesperson for the ACA explains that this agency is in charge of only one of the procedures necessary to obtain authorization to be able to camp and that the final approval corresponds to the General Directorate of Joventut. The ACA has cartographic maps that inform which areas of Catalonia are prone to flooding, mostly near large rivers. However, many camping grounds are located near torrents but are not covered by this cartography, so that “the contribution of the studies and the necessary technical documentation will always correspond to the petitioner, the person interested in the activity.”

This necessary documentation to demonstrate that they are not floodplains, according to Minyons Escoltes i Guies de Catalunya, “has a cost between 2,000 and 3,000 euros and we cannot afford it financially.” The entity adds that “the groups and federations are working to try to ensure that all affected groups can carry out activities completely normally”, a situation against the clock because many of these activities begin with the end of the school year.