The environmental association Zero, has filed an urgent action in Lisbon’s Administrative Court in an effort to, “enforce a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the decision to install an airport in Montijo,” citing a “blatant lack of transparency” in the planning process.
An agreement was signed in January this year between the national airports operator, ANA, and the government despite the lack of an Environmental Impact Statement, a necessary step in the procedure.
In August 2018, Zero sent a formal complaint to the European Commission about the lack of an environmental assessment which would have looked at alternative sites for the much-needed second airport for Lisbon.
Zero threatened court action then and now has followed through with an action against the Portuguese Environment Agency, “in order to force a Strategic Environmental Assessment,” something the government has been at pains to avoid.
Zero wants the wider study because part of the deal signed with ANA was to expand Lisbon’s existing airport, inevitably having an impact on those living in the wider area.
With the lawsuit, the association says it hopes to be able to “thoroughly and transparently to assess the best options for a decision that will have a profound impact on the country over the coming decades.”
According to Zero, the choice of Montijo, “has been based on a blatant lack of transparency on the part of the Government, with information evasion and not allowing scrutiny by third parties.”
At the same time, the association points out that the location of an airport in Montijo, “was never part of any government plan or programme” and “has never been duly substantiated.”
The government waits for the new environmental impact study for Montijo, less comprehensive than a strategic environmental assessment, after the first one delivered last May was rejected due to several flaws spotted by the Environmental Agency.