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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Portugal. The government announced the construction of a new airport near Lisbon; environmentalists protest

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Lisbon is to have a new airport to replace the international airport named after Humberto Delgado – the Portuguese government has decided. However, the decision was criticized by environmental organizations. The facility is to be built by 2034 and become the only airport in the agglomeration.

As nine ecological associations associated with the ONGA federation announced in a joint statement, the government's approval on Tuesday of the construction of an airport in Alcochete near Lisbon poses a threat to the local nature.

Ecologists' protest

According to environmental organizations, in order to start work on the construction of the airport, the government must first conduct a study of the impact of the new facility on the natural environment.

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The new location of the airport, as ecologists add, is located only a dozen or so kilometers from the nature reserve in the Tagus Delta, the largest estuary in Western Europe. There is a nature reserve there, protecting many rare species of fish, crustaceans and birds.

According to the government's decision, the airport is to be built by 2034, becoming the only international airport in the Lisbon metropolitan area. The facility will be named after the Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes. The main advantage of Alcochete, according to Prime Minister Luis Montenegro, is its close location, approximately 30 km from the capital, and the fact that the area where the airport is to be built belongs to the state. Its current administrator is the Portuguese army. Commentators point to the determination of the center-right government of Montenegro to build an airport near Lisbon, the location of which has been debated by the authorities for over 30 years. SIC Television notes that Alcochete is the third location of a new airport planned by the authorities in the last year Portugaland the second one near a nature reserve in the Tagus River Delta.

Another approach

By mid-2023, the previous socialist government of Portugal wanted to build a new airport in the Lisbon commune of Montijo, next to a nature reserve in the Tagus river delta. After numerous protests, including complaints to the European Commission, the project was rejected. In letters sent to the EU authorities, critics of the airport in Montijo accused Costa's government of exposing it to the degradation of nature and the high risk of plane collisions with birds. Before the November resignation of Prime Minister Antonio Costa, the Portuguese authorities were considering building an airport in the commune of Santarem, over 90 km north of the Portuguese capital.

Main photo source: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com

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