The Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam, Teva V'din) has come out fighting against a major development plan being put forward by the National Planning and Construction Council for beaches in the Tel Aviv district, saying that the plan breaches beach preservation laws and would allow construction to take place on thousands of square meters of seaside land, reports www.local.co.il. The union formally lodged strong objections to the plan, which covers beaches from Bat Yam in the south to Herzliya in the north and designates future areas of development, the removal of hazards, the creation of a beach-side park, promenades and green spaces, and the preservation of cliffs and ruins. According to the report, the plan would allow construction in areas where building is currently prohibited, including within 100 meters of the waterline. It would also allow a number of large commercial developments - including some as large as 3,000 to 4,000 square meters - along the beaches. A union spokeswoman said the environment had to be taken into consideration in any beach development plan, and the organization's objections were aimed at significantly reducing the amount of construction along the beaches, preventing commercial developments, and preserving the ban on building within 100 meters of the water. The organization is also asking that fences blocking views and access to the sea be removed, while natural areas such as sea-turtle breeding grounds should be fenced off to protect them. In addition, it is asking that preference be given to native vegetation when planting green areas. "It is appropriate to remember that the beach park is not located in an open area but is close to a lively and busy urban center," the organization said. "There is no real reason to allow such extensive construction for the purposes of commerce, restaurants and entertainment in the beach park area... swimming beaches should not be turned into shopping malls." No response was reported from the national planning council. Meanwhile, the Committee for the Preservation of the Beach Environment has given the green light for a planned 9,000-unit residential development in north-west Tel Aviv to go before the District Planning and Construction Committee for further discussion, reports www.local.co.il. The project, which is being planned in accordance with the National Planning Council's master plan, provides for a beach-side park some 250 meters wide to run down its length. According to the report, the planned project covers 1,900 dunams of land up to the municipal border with Herzliya, with 70 percent of the land designated as public space, and with about a third of this land allocated for parks. It will involve the construction of 9,000 apartments averaging about 120 square meters each. The report said the District Planning Committee would now discuss the plans further.