Guardia Civil’s Environmental Triumphs

Guardia Civil Enforce Environmental Protection

Guardia Civil's environmental department. Credit:

SEPRONA, the Guardia Civil’s environmental department has published a report which highlights the impact that environmental crimes have.

In 2023, the Guardia Civil initiated 374 criminal proceedings against violations concerning natural resources and the environment. This involves a staggering 325 individuals under scrutiny, with the majority being related to offences which cause damage to fauna and flora.

Environmental Crackdown

The Guardia Civil noted 5,414 violations related to natural areas, flora and fauna, 3,415 concerning water regulations, and 138 associated with atmospheric pollution. Crimes aimed at flora and fauna protection stand at 198, close to an 80 per cent resolution rate.

In terms of waste management – from depositing to disposal – 14,169 administrative actions and 19 criminal actions have been logged, leading to 14 individuals being arrested or investigated.

Additionally, 13 offences of contaminating emissions into the air, ground, or water have been identified, resulting in five individuals under investigation and a resolution rate of over 75 per cent.

SEPRONA: Environmental Protection

The Guardia Civil’s Nature Protection Service, SEPRONA, has emerged as a global leader in combating environmental crimes with its 35 years of expertise and nearly 2000 officers.

SEPRONA is a unit with a global environmental protection strategy, carrying out awareness-raising, prevention, administrative surveillance, ‘it is by law the specific judicial police in environmental matters,’ the report stated.

SEPRONA’s involvement isn’t limited to Spain. The European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) ranks the fight against environmental crimes high on its agenda. Impressively, SEPRONA has played a role in 49 per cent of the EMPACT-ENVI initiatives. In 2024, SEPRONA is set to take a more predominant role as the ‘driver’ of the EMPACT environmental priority.

The Central Information Analysis Office on illicit environmental activities, OCN, has seen a surge in its operations. It has become a national and international hub for data related to environmental breaches. It holds the presidency of EnviCrimeNet and represents Spain in this network and in other international forums, within and outside the framework of EUROPOL.

Spain’s rich natural heritage places it at the forefront of global landscape beauty, boasting unparalleled biodiversity in the European Union. Alongside the US, it leads in the number of UNESCO-designated biosphere reserves.

To guarantee respect for our natural environment, the Guardia civil advise the following recommendations.

  • Abandoning animals in an ecosystem that is not theirs represents a serious problem for native species. It will probably end up dying and if it survives, it may end up becoming an invasive species.
  • Before collecting any plant from an area, check on the internet what type of species it is, since some are protected and even if they are not, you are taking away resources from other species.
  • As a general rule, young animals should not be taken. They may appear abandoned, but usually their parents will be nearby. Furthermore, it is very possible that you will later release them into an ecosystem that is not favourable to them.
  • If you see an injured animal, contact the Civil Guard (062) and tell them its location. For this, the ALERTCOPS app could be very useful, where your position can be known precisely through a chat.
  • Leave no trace of your visit. Remember that the most common things that we sometimes find lying in our path take forever to disappear. Furthermore, this type of uncivil behaviour could pose a high risk of fire.
  • When you go with your vehicle, always do so on authorized roads or trails. Likewise, avoid entering an area that is not clear of weeds. The temperature of the exhaust pipe or a spark could cause a fire.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.