Staff Reporter
THE European Commission has raised no official objection to the enlargement of Palma airport, nor to the highway development plans proposed by the Balearic government. The Commission's response, confirmed to left-wing Catalonian Eurodeputy, Miquel Mayol, stipulated that in the case of the airport, local authorities had approved the outline of a project in 2001. According to Mayol, the plans were later modified to accommodate structural and runway expansion.
Such alterations envisage that by the year 2015, the airport will be handling 38 million visitors.
The European Commission pointed out that its ruling body does not currently oblige its member States to carry out strategic evaluation of how the Environment might be affected by either new development or modification plans. This situation will change, however, on 21 July this year, when a new directive comes into force. “The Commission has no reason to suppose that Community legislation has not been correctly applied”, they concluded.
With regard to the road projects that regional government has in mind for Majorca, the “modification” includes the construction of the Inca to Manacor highway, two motorways (Inca-Sa Pobla and Llucmajor), as well as the addition of a third carriageway on the Palma to Inca motorway, and a second Palma ringroad. Mayol expressed deep regret that the execution of these plans does not depend on adequate research into how such construction would affect the environment. European Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallstrom, said that statutes stipulate that the member States must take any necessary measures that they see fit, so that projects likely to have a significant impact on the environment can be submitted to a study before final approval is given. As in the case of the airport, it is the Spanish authorities themselves who have the neccesary jurisdiction.

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