Portugal’s environmental agency places stumbling block to Montijo new airport site

 In Aviation, New Airport, News

The company that manages Portugal’s airports, ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, says that the arguments from the Portuguese environment agency APA not to extend an environmental impact statement (DIA) on the proposed Montijo airport site for a further four years does not justify the decision.

The APA’s decision not to renew makes it difficult for the government to choose the site on the South bank of the River Tagus at Lisbon and will invariably raise questions that someone may have brought pressure to bear.
ANA is said to favour Montijo as the site for Lisbon’s second international airport, as does Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary who believes a second airport a Montijo could be up and running in just over a year and at a fraction of the cost (Less than €50 million) of the Alcochete option (€3.2Bn). However, a report from the government’s Independent Technical Commission favours the former Portuguese army firing range at Alcochete because it has more space for eventual growth.
Commenting to the business daily Negócios on APA’s decision not to renew the environmental impact statement for a further four years, ANA argued that there have not been “material changes” to the situations evaluated four years ago or to the circumstances underpinning the issue of the DIA.
As ANA says: “There have not been any relevant changes to Territorial Management Instruments (IGT), neither have there been any solid scientific arguments regarding the ecological systems that sustain an alteration, either in fact or law, to those that had already been described in the DIA”.
At the end of January, the APA had decided not to approve the renewal of the DIA for the Montijo airport site because of a negative technical report from the Institute of Nature Conservation (ICNF) that believed there had been a “change in circumstances” regarding the environmental context.
In its reply, ANA says that it was not expecting this decision from the APA recalling the experience that it had with the renewal processes when renewing the two previous DIA environmental impact statements for the Alcochete site, when no issues had been raised.
ANA believes renewing the DIA is as administrative process and a verification that the project meets DIA requirements laid out in the Project Execution Environmental Conformity Report (RECAPE) that hasn’t even been received.
APA, which has not given any concrete reasons for not renewing the document, will now have to take a final decision and ANA will now have to appeal the negative decision on Montijo.