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Portugal’s proposed new airport would threaten 1000’s of protected birds

Birds gather on the Tagus estuary


The Portuguese authorities is gearing as much as construct a brand new airport on the nation’s most necessary wetland – the Tagus Estuary. The world is on the trail of tons of of 1000’s of migratory wetland birds that congregate there for the winter or on their journey between Northern Europe and Africa. Additionally it is protected underneath quite a few worldwide treaties on account of its significance for these protected species.

Makes an attempt to go forward with the mission present a disregard for necessary EU legal guidelines and an absence of consideration of the extreme impacts of constructing the airport on an internationally protected nature web site.

So we’ve stepped in. Working with Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA), and supported by seven nationwide NGOs, we now have filed a court docket motion towards the federal government, aiming to annul Montijo Airport’s Environmental Affect Assertion (EIS).

An incomplete environmental evaluation

“The Portuguese authorities have failed to contemplate that this mission would adversely have an effect on the integrity of this irreplaceable nature reserve. Persevering regardless of the pointless threat it poses to nature is a blatant breach of EU and nationwide nature legal guidelines and can’t go unchallenged.”

The EIS is a vital doc which ought to think about the impacts of any improvement on the atmosphere.  The legislation requires {that a} sequence of assessments be carried out earlier than a improvement can go forward which impacts a protected web site.  The Portuguese authorities failed to hold out these assessments and have merely proposed to ‘relocate’ the habitats and birds that might be affected by the airport.

Protected migratory birds and habitats within the Tagus might be completely disturbed if the airport is constructed, and failure to totally assess the mission’s environmental impression, and suggesting that birds can and can merely inhabit close by salt flats, is a transparent breach of EU and nationwide legal guidelines.

Our wildlife lawyer Soledad Gallego stated: “The Portuguese authorities is sure by legislation to guard the birds and habitats that rely on this distinctive pure space for survival. Approving this airport threatens this necessary wetland and the wildlife it helps.”

Harm to websites past Portugal

The potential penalties additionally prolong past injury to the Tagus Estuary.  Due to its significance for migratory birds, injury or disturbance to the Tagus Estuary may also affect websites all alongside the migration path to northern Europe. Gallego added: “Montijo Airport may have far-reaching penalties felt properly past Portuguese borders. Failure to contemplate this can trigger irreversible injury to nature, folks and the local weather.”

The mission has been closely criticised each at nationwide and worldwide stage. In Portugal, it has been met by public and political outcry. Environmental teams in Portugal have additionally expressed their disapproval, with specialists citing the development as a “crime towards nature”.

Within the Netherlands, 1000’s of individuals have signed a petition towards the development, as it will significantly threaten the migratory Black-tailed Godwit, the Dutch nationwide hen.

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