Continuing boom in British-owned holiday homes fuels environmentalists anger.

A demonstration in central Madrid yesterday saw 2000 environmentalists gather to protest against illegal building work which they say is destroying Spain's landscape. The protesters said that some of the country's most important parks and historic areas were being sacrificed as local authorities allowed holiday homes - most of them for Britons - to be built without regard for the environment. Ramon Lopez de Lucio, a professor of urban planning at Madrid University, told the meeting: "in Madrid there are 300,000 empty apartments ... [yet] aggressive construction has increased 50% in Madrid and on the Costas."

Protesters claim that many local councillors ae corrupt, allowing development in areas that should be protected for historic or environmental reasons. More than 1.5 million properties are under construction in Spain at the moment, many of which are holiday homes that will be sold to northern Europeans. More than 1 million homes in Spain are British-owned, and experts estimate that holiday homes are being built at a rate of 100,000 a year.