The Government met 10 times with Aena since 2019 to talk about El Prat knowing that the lands were protected

More than sixty meetings have been held by Aena with the parties involved in the process of El Prat airport expansion in the last two years. Since then, as sources from the airport manager confirm to Invertia, the plan “has always been the same” and the Generalitat itself, with whom it has met ten times, knew the environmental implications of it on La Ricarda, the protected area of ​​the Natura 2000 Network.

Specifically, the first meeting between Aena and the Generalitat dates from November 22, 2019. In fact, the meeting is with the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability of the Government, according to the documentation provided by the public company on the website created on the occasion of the suspension of the investment of 1,700 million euros announced last Wednesday by the Government by the change of course of the Government.

Although at that time the Generalitat was chaired by Quim Torra, its vice president was Pere Aragonès (current president of the Generalitat) and, furthermore, we are talking about a government made up of the same political formations.

These meetings would be repeated for almost two years -except for the stoppages motivated by the pandemic- up to a total of ten with this council and others from the Government. There were also meetings with unions, affected organizations and municipalities involved such as Barcelona or Viladecans.

According to Aena sources, two alternatives are already being proposed at the beginning of the meetings in 2019: extend runway 07R / 25L by 500 meters to the west or east (the sea). Then, it was decided that the only solution to decongest the saturated El Prat airport was to widen the runway towards the sea. Both sides are bounded by the protected area.

A plane flies over the surroundings of the protected natural area of ​​La Ricarda.

A plane flies over the surroundings of the protected natural area of ​​La Ricarda.


For this, there are also various reports, such as Enaire’s, which Aena has also made public. Not widening the track implies that do not exceed 80 operations per hour, that there are significant delays in non-preferential takeoffs in high demand hours, the possible limitation to the growth of long-haul traffic and maintaining the acoustic impact, according to a report by Enaire.

Compensation plan

After a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, the Generalitat itself convened the technical tables to facilitate the exchange of information between the Government, the municipalities involved and Aena. “These technical tables were very productive because we talked about the environmental impact, which needed to be compensated with the measures that we present,” say sources from the manager.

These measures they intend not only to compensate the affection to the protected space, but to achieve a notable improvement of the resulting new natural space with respect to the current situation based on the regulations that protect these natural spaces.

“The proposed measure is not intended to be a definitive proposal but to demonstrate that it is possible not only to compensate for the damage caused by the extension of the runway, but to improve the natural space and serve as a starting point for the development of the final proposal with the contributions of the territory “, details the document of compensatory measures. In fact, the public company contributes agreements in which they explain the acquisition of nearby spaces to turn them into Red Natura.

And, after having knowledge of all this, the Government itself seals the agreement with the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) on August 2.

September 3 occurs the session of the Catalonia Airport Coordination Committee in which the Airport Regulation Document (DORA II) is presented for the period between 2022 and 2026. It was a process prior to its approval by the Council of Ministers that had to take place before September 30.

A member of the Generalitat also attends this meeting: Isidre Gavín, Secretary of Territory and Mobility. We are talking about the tenth and last public meeting held between Aena and the Generalitat.

Trust is broken

After this is when the contradictory statements of the Government take place, now closer to the Barcelona City Council and environmental groups, which from the beginning were opposed to the expansion.



It is then when mistrust in the Government jumps that leads to the suspension of the expansion. In fact, both the Ministry of Transport and Aena agreed yesterday to postpone the expansion plan to five years, that is, to the next DORA III. All this despite the fact that the Catalan employers request “responsibility” so that the project is resumed before the end of September.

For Pere Aragonès, the announcement of the Executive of Pedro Sánchez is “a pressure maneuver for the Government to critically accept without amendments the intention that Aena had: to extend the track 500 meters above the Ricarda reserve, and we will not accept that”.

Despite this, Aena sources do not close the project definitively. They affirm that “we continue with the will to convert the hub international. Now it has not been possible to reach this agreement but we will continue working so that on other occasions the procedures allow us to find a point of consensus. ”

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