Assessment of new airport will ‘respect all rules’ – government

  • Lusa
  • 8 September 2021

The government announced that the strategic environmental assessment of the new Lisbon airport will respect all rules and does not exclude any rail link to Montijo.

Portugal’s government on Wednesday said that the strategic environmental assessment of the new Lisbon airport will respect all rules and does not exclude any rail link to Montijo but refuses to discuss an indefinite number of solutions.

“The strategic environmental assessment that is being prepared will respect all rules and will work as a support instrument for the government’s final decision,” it said in a written response sent to Lusa.

In the note, the ministry of Pedro Nuno Santos also said that no rail link to Montijo is excluded from the outset, contrary to what is being assumed by environmentalists who on Wednesday accused the government of preventing a serious and true strategic environmental assessment of the new Lisbon airport, by limiting its scope to only three solutions and excluding rail from the final solution.

In a statement, eight environmental associations stress that the mandate given to the Institute of Mobility and Transport (IMT) continues previous mistakes and misses the opportunity for broad consensus on a project of national and strategic scope.

According to them, the study for which the IMT launched a public tender is intended to compare only three solutions, which contaminates the process and removes its character of strategic environmental assessment.

In the response sent to Lusa, the government said it does not intend to reopen the discussion around an indefinite number of solutions for the Lisbon airport.

Two of the solutions that should be assessed refer to constructing a new airport in Montijo, which environmental associations consider unfeasible in the environmental impact assessment and which the Almada Administrative and Tax Court reinforced in the sentence it issued.

The eight entities claim that the executive lacks strategic vision by not opting for a rail link to the new airport, noting that the railway is gaining preponderance in Europe and building a new airport in Montijo, where trains can never reach, is an anachronism.

“Just as there is a National Road Plan and a National Rail Plan (this one under consultation), the organisations defend that there should be a National Airport Plan, for both passengers and cargo,” they said.

A strategic environmental assessment should be truly comprehensive, they argue, and be coordinated and constantly monitored by a committee of experts from various areas.

The associations (ZERO, ANP/WWF, FAPAS, Geota, LPN, Quercus, SPEA and SPECO) will appeal to the president, prime minister, government, parties with parliamentary representation, local authorities and other entities with responsibility in the matter for these claims.