Ibiza Consell is talking tough over the many illegal billboards which proliferate around Ibiza. 

It has given the owners of the billboard sites until February to take them down voluntarily and without penalty, or face the consell issuing substantial fines in addition to taking unilateral action to dismantle and remove the illegal boards. 

  • Text: Nick Gibbs
  • Photos: Nick & Rhian Gibbs ‘back in the day’ 

The Minister Speaks

Speaking to the Diario de Ibiza the Minister of Urban Planning, Mariano Juan, said that the owners “said they would submit a plan to remove the fences, but the truth is that they have not yet done so”. The Diario cite the company Ibiza Publicidad as owner of most of the illegal boards. They say that the Consell suspects that in reality the company wants to drag their feet over the issue, and in doing so be able to exploit the boards for profit one more season. However, Mariano Juan was blunt: “We don’t want them to reach the summer.”

Therefore, apart from opening the necessary actions against the owners, the government team has practically decided to adopt the precautionary measure to prohibit the placement of advertising on the billboards in order to prevent the company from continuing to make profits from the illegal installations. 

“We are assessing whether we put this precautionary measure. I understand that it can be adopted, because it is a continuous infraction,” explained Mariano Juan . If this “cessation of activity” was ignored by Ibiza Advertising, the regulations provide that periodic penalties may be imposed on the company until this order is applied.

Minority or Not?

In the report Mariano Juan is quoted as saying that the illegal boards are a “very small minority” of the total billboards in Ibiza, however this is at odds with a report in August 2019 that shows large numbers of billboards must be illegal. 

Most of the billboards are erected on rural and industrial land abutting the main roads, however the policy of the highways department is that billboards cannot be erected in these situations. This policy has been in place many years and so it must be considered that any billboard erected in these situations minimally in the last 20 years would be illegal. 

2002 Report

According to a study carried out in 2002 by the Grup d’Estudis de la Naturalesa (GEN), eighteen years ago yet even then undertaken to push the issue of illegal placement of billboards, the numbers have continued to increase rapidly with apparently little fear of sanctions.

The GEN report of 2002 said there were 34 billboards in the stretch of road from Can Sifre to the airport. The Diario report in August 2019 says there are 91 in the same stretch of road – an increase of 167%, and if it is true as suspected that all have been erected illegally it would mean there are far more illegal billboards in that one stretch than there are legal placements. 

Also at odds with the comment that the illegal billboards are in the minority is the comments of San Jose mayor Josep Marí Ribas, who said in August 2019 that Billboards had reached a plague level in the borough though “very few of the hoardings are licensed”.

Will They Or Won’t They?

So what is it to be? In Ibiza we hear tough talk from the authorities often, but the intentions are not always realised in action. Will the Consell see through their threat to take down the illegal advertising promotion boards?

Blot on the Landscape, or Modern Heritage?

And do people consider them the blot on the landscape claimed, or have they become an accepted, even admired, part of Ibiza’s cultural heritage, a reflection of the music and entertainment industry on which the island’s success is based?

Let us know your thoughts.