LOCAL environmentalists and left wing politicians yesterday tried to block the proposed Palma airport expansion claims, slamming the idea to alter Palma's planning laws to allow for the project. The project and plans are up for public consultation and yesterday Balearic environmental group GOB and the United Left/Green coalition criticised the project and the way city planning laws are being modified and bent to accommodate the project to develop Son San Joan into an airport able to handle 38.5 million passengers per year by 2015. The Greens claim that neither Palma not Majorca will be able to withstand the enormous pressure of nearly 40 million passengers per year, the extra air traffic, noise and pollution. GOB is concerned that while on the one hand, the authorities are trying to consolidate growth in the tourist industry, by encouraging the near doubling of passengers at Palma airport, Palma city council is laying the foundations for complete chaos. GOB also claimed yesterday that one of the modifications to the planning laws allows areas of green belt surrounding the airport to be built on.
The environmental group said that the expansion of Palma airport on such a scale will be a “catastrophe” for Majorca and called on the Insular Council of Majorca to block the proposal and deny planning permission. Impact studies which have been carried out by the Spanish airport authority AENA have confirmed that the project will lead to greater levels of noise pollution and fuel contamination in the area but, according to AENA, of minimal consequence. However, for some residents in Can Pastilla and Arenal 86 flight movements per hour are unlikely to be called minimal. At present the airport can handle a maximum of 76 movements per hour, 35 arrivals and 41 departures. Once the expansion project has been completed, the macro-airport will be able to cope with 86 take-offs and landings. GOB also pointed out yesterday what while the Development Ministry has forecast the huge rise in passengers, for the past two years, figures have actually fallen in Palma.