Nine environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have defended a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as being “fundamental” for the new Lisbon airport, a process that, they say, could be concluded in October 2023.
A “fast decision on Lisbon Airport will only be legally valid with a serious, participatory and transparent Strategic Environmental Assessment”, say the organisations in a statement.
The NGOs, which in July 2020 formed a coalition to judicially challenge the validity of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out on the Montijo complementary airport project, consider that “no more time should be wasted”, and appeal “that it should be started as soon as possible”.
According to the associations, if the process begins now to define the scope of the SEA, with the participation of all the “key actors”, it will last three months, with the environmental report being ready between six to eight months later.
NGOs want to be part of the process from the beginning. And they propose that nine “critical decision-making” factors be taken into account in the SEA: the conservation of nature and biodiversity; the need for mitigation and adaptation to climate change; public health (air, noise, water) and safety; air traffic operating efficiency and capacity; sustainability; transport; ordering and competitiveness.
The NGOs also consider that “limits of exclusion” should be considered, beyond which a given alternative should not be considered. In the statement, the organizations reaffirm that the use of the Montijo air base as a complementary or main airport is “unfeasible from the point of view of aeronautical safety, environmental, protection of biodiversity and public health”.
And they add: “We also consider that the maintenance, beyond what is strictly necessary, and the expansion of Portela airport are unfeasible, both from an environmental point of view and from the safety and protection of public health”.
In the statement, referring that efforts to mitigate climate change must be present in all plans, programs, projects and public policies, the NGOs consider it “imperative” to articulate the airport plan with the National Railway Plan.
The NGO group is made up of the Association for the Defense of Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Algarve (ALMARGEM), Associação Natureza Portugal, in association with WWF (ANP/WWF), Christian Association for Studies and Environmental Defense (A ROCHA), and Portuguese Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity (FAPAS), the Group for Spatial Planning and Environment Studies (GEOTA), the League for the Protection of Nature (LPN), the National Association for Nature Conservation (Quercus), the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) , and the Sustainable Earth System Association (ZERO).