Subject Petition 02612006 by Marta Gumà Bondia by hhr21145

VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 5

									                  EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
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                                        Committee on Petitions



     30.01.2009



                          NOTICE TO MEMBERS

     Subject:     Petition 0261/2006 by Marta Gumà Bondia (Spanish), on construction activities
                  on the Río Llobregat in Barcelona


     1.   Summary of petition

     The petitioner has observed massive fish catches in the lagoon of the old Llobregat riverbed,
     where large quantities of earth are also being deposited, the purpose being, according to press
     reports, to provide the foundations for a new railway station. However, no survey has been
     published and no environmental impact assessment carried out. The petitioner quotes a 1998
     resolution concerning the environmental impact of construction work along a section of the
     river, expressly indicating that its scope does not extend to the projected railway network
     extensions. She also expresses concern at the unfavourable impact on nesting birds of works
     being carried out during the breeding period.

     2.   Admissibility

     Declared admissible on 31 July 2006. Information requested from the Commission under Rule
     192(4).

     3.   Commission reply, received on 25 January 2007.

     Background/The petition

     The petitioner claims that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was approved by the
     Spanish Authorities for the "Proyecto de encauzamiento del río Llobregat desde el puente de
     Mercabarna al mar- solución desvío intermedio- con inclusión del canal de pluviales en la
     margen izquierda" (channelling project of the river Llobregat from the bridge of Mercabarna
     to the sea) but that no EIA was carried out for the railway station project and there was no
     public consultation. According to the petitioner, the works to cover the lagoon have already

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     started.

     The Commission's comments

     The construction of this kind of railway infrastructure could fall within Annex II point 10 b)
     or 10 c) of Directive 85/337/EEC1 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and
     private projects on the environment (EIA Directive) as amended by Directive 97/11/EC2 and
     Directive 2003/35/EC3 providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of
     certain plans and programmes relating to the environment. For projects included in Annex II
     of the EIA Directive, Member States have to determine, before development consent is
     granted, if they are likely to have significant effects on the environment. If so, they must be
     subject to an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

     According to available information, the project referred to by the petitioner could have a
     significant impact on the Natura 2000 site ES0000146 Delta del Llobregat that has been
     designated as Site of Community Importance (SCI) under Directive 92/43/EEC4 (Habitats
     Directive) and Special Protection Area (SPA) under Directive 79/409/EEC5 (Birds Directive).
     The main concerns refer to works that would be carried out in the vicinity and upstream of
     this site.

     The Commission considers that it should be recalled that according to Article 7 of the
     Habitats Directive, the obligations arising under Article 6(2), (3) and (4) of this Directive also
     apply to the areas classified as SPA pursuant to the Birds Directive. Article 6(3) of the
     Habitats Directive states that any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to
     the management of a Natura 2000 site but likely to have a significant effect thereon shall be
     subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site’s
     conservation objectives. In the light of the conclusions of the assessments, the competent
     authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not
     adversely affect the integrity of the site. In case of a negative assessment, the plan or project
     can only be carried out in the absence of alternative solutions, for imperative reasons of
     overriding public interest and taking all compensatory measures necessary to ensure that the
     overall coherence of Natura 2000 is protected.

     From the information contained in the petition, it is not possible to assess whether these
     provisions have been applied in this case by the Spanish Authorities.

     Conclusions

     From the information provided by the petitioner, it seems that the Spanish Authorities may
     not have complied with the provisions of the EIA Directive.

     The Commission will contact the Spanish authorities to investigate further the issues raised in

     1
         OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40.
     2
         OJ L 73, 14.3.1997, p. 5.
     3
         OJ L 156, 25.6.2003, p. 17.
     4
         OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
     5
         OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1.

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this petition in relation to the relevant EU Environmental Law provisions.


4.    Further Commission reply, received on 29 November 2007.

Petition

The petitioner denounces the project for the construction of a railway station and accesses to
the port of Barcelona, situated in the area of the old channel of the River Llobregat. This
project, according to the petitioner, has no environmental impact assessment and is not
included in the Directorate-General of Environmental Quality Resolution of 4 August 1998,
in which the environmental impact assessment of the channelling project of the River
Llobregat from the Mercabarna Bridge to the sea was formulated.
The new intermodal railway station and its accesses to the port of Barcelona, part of the Port
of Barcelona Management Plan, have to be constructed after the filling of the old channel, in
which, since 2004, a lagoon has appeared.

Communication by the Commission

The General Secretariat of Environment Resolution of 5 May 2000, in which the
environmental impact assessment of the Port of Barcelona Management Plan was formulated,
only contains a reference to the arrival in the port of Barcelona of a new railway branch. For
this reason; the Commission indicated in its previous answer to the petitioner that information
from the Spanish authorities was going to be requested.

With regard to the filling of the old river-bed of the Llobregat, the Commission has checked
that it was mentioned in the afore-mentioned Resolution of 5 May 2000. Furthermore, on 1
February 2007, the Spanish Official Journal published the Resolution of 22 December 2006,
of the General Secretariat for Pollution Prevention and Climatic Change, in which the
Environmental Impact Assessment of the project "Acceso a la nueva Terminal del aeropuerto
de Barcelona, red de cercanías de Barcelona" was included. The project consists, in
accordance with the environmental impact assessment, of the construction of two sections.
The first one consists of a new branch for the current railway of Vilanova. The second section
will have two tracks and will link the Prat station with the new terminal (Terminal Sur) of
Barcelona Airport.

This means that an environmental impact assessment for the project in question exists and,
before the beginning of the works, the studies and projects referring to hydrogeology
(apartado 8) will be sent to the Catalan Water Agency, whose report will be binding for the
implementation of the works.

Conclusion

An environmental impact assessment has been carried out for the project in question which
complies with European environmental law. Accordingly, no further investigation is needed.


5.    Further Commission reply, received on 30 January 2009.

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     As the Commission stated in its previous communications in relation to this petition, it
     considers that the EIA1 Directive has been correctly implemented.

     All the projects in the area have a positive Environmental Impact Declaration : the ones
     mentioned in our previous communication and also the New South road and rail accesses to
     the Barcelona Harbour project, Environmental Impact Statement of 14.9.2007 (Spanish
     Official Journal of 8.10.2007).

     The Commission requested information from the Spanish authorities concerning the
     application of the Habitats2 and Birds3 Directives in relation to the lagoon that appeared in the
     old channel of the River Llobregat.

     According to the Spanish authorities' reply, the old stream bed of the River Llobregat is not
     included in the flood plain mentioned in the Environmental Impact Statement of 4 .8.1998.

     The lagoon mentioned by the petitioner is indeed a small reservoir created as a consequence
     of the construction works. It has no connection with other water bodies or streams, and is
     isolated from the lagoons, the new river channel and the natural area of the river delta, by a
     heavily urbanised industrial area. The filling of the lagoon was clearly established in the
     Environmental Impact Statement of 4.8.1998.

     The project did consider the protection of the fauna and flora that could be affected by the
     construction works and established the necessary provisions to relocate some animal species
     and to recreate the nesting environment for some birds (Charadrius alexandrinus, Annex I of
     the Birds Directive) which used to nest in the coastal area between the old stream bed and the
     new river channel and could be significantly affected by the construction works.

     Regarding the species Hyla meridionalis and Mauremys leprosa, both included in Annex IV
     of the Habitats Directive, the Spanish authorities' reply recognizes that both are species
     present in the river delta area but that neither of the environmental assessments identified a
     significant impact produced by this project on the species' conservation.

     Concerning the species of steppic birds Tetrax tetrax (sisón común), Coracias garrulus
     (carraca europea) and Calandrella brachydactyla (terrera común), birds for which
     deficiencies in the designation of SPA in Catalonia have been detected, the Spanish
     authorities' reply indicates that their actual distribution and potential nesting areas are closely
     related to agricultural and dry land farming areas in the province of Lérida. Although they
     could be watched in the delta area, their presence should be considered as sporadic and
     exceptional. It is important to stress that these are steppic bird species and their presence will
     more likely occur in the agricultural plots of the delta area than in the river banks.

     1
         Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the
         environment (OJ L 175, 5.7.1985), as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997 amending Directive
         85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (OJ L 73, 14.3.1997)
         and Directive 2003/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 providing for public participation
         in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment and amending with regard to
         public participation and access to justice Council Directives 85/337/EEC and 96/61/EC (OJ L 156, 25.6.2003).
     2
         Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (OJ L 206,
         22.7.1992).
     3
         Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds (OJ L 103, 25.4.1979).

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Taking into account this new information, the Commission is unable to identify a breach of
EU environmental law (specifically of EIA, Habitats and Wild Birds Directives).




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