Airport. A mayor’s opinion “is not a technical criterion”

Airport. A mayor’s opinion “is not a technical criterion”

The opinions of the mayors will not be part of the criteria for analysis of the different options for airport expansion in Lisbon, by the Independent Technical Commission, because it is not a technical criterion, Rosário Macário told Lusa.

“The mayor’s opinion is not a technical criterion, all mayors will certainly have opinions on the matter. We will, naturally, take into consideration the arguments they use, but that will not be part of the criteria,” said, in an interview with Lusa, Professor Rosário Macário, who is part of the CTI that will carry out the strategic environmental assessment for airport expansion in the Lisbon region.

This position came after being questioned about the statements of the Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, who defended an airport near Lisbon, after it was known that there is a project for the construction of infrastructure in Santarém.

Six locations are currently under analysis, after Beja and Alverca were added to the list, joining Portela (Lisbon), Montijo, Alcochete and Santarém, already mentioned in the dispatch from the Council of Ministers that determined the creation of CTI.

“The fact that mayor A or B says he likes this or that better will not be part of the criteria, because otherwise we would not be an independent technical commission”, the technical coordinator emphasized.

Rosário Macário pointed out, however, that the mayors will be consulted.

“We are talking to more than 30 entities that are relevant in the process, but we are not subordinated to any one entity, because this is a very clear aspect and it was a condition for this technical commission to assume this mission and this mandate, which is to maintain our independence until the end”, she explained.

Among the entities consulted are also environmental associations and residents.

However, Rosário Macário warned that it is “impossible” to build an airport with “zero environmental impact”.

Even so, the university professor said she hoped that the “transparency” and “rigor” of the process being carried out by CTI would “minimize” the environmentalists’ objections.

“We are listening to all these entities and, obviously, we will analyze this whole process, trying to minimize the impacts, of course,” she said.

Asked about how to ensure that, in the event of the construction of a new airport, it doesn’t end up also being ‘swallowed’ by the development of the city around it, such as Portela, causing, among other issues, a noise problem, the specialist said that it involves compliance with the master plans.

“It is a problem that has to do with the master plans of the area where it is placed and the rigor to comply with, which here [Lisbon] did not exist and, therefore, in fact, the city was allowed to grow over the airport,” she explained, stressing that, “in a future location, it is desirable that there be more rigor with regard to monitoring and regulation of land uses.

As for the most advantageous option for the country and for the Lisbon region, Rosário Macário referred a decision to October or November.

“We are committed to this mission. We are still in the hiring phase, because the bureaucratic part of hiring [for the CTI technical teams] is slowing us down a bit, but the coordinators are all already working,” she said.

The goal, he added, is that CTI can “contribute to an end to this long soap opera about the airport and the future of the airport.