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C 113 E/22 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 18.4.


(2001/C 113 E/019) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1518/00

by Paul Lannoye (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(12 May 2000)

Subject: Barajas airport

The AENA (Spanish airport company) is extending the airport installations at Barajas (Madrid), a densely
populated area. As long ago as 1979 the Federal Aviation Agency advised against any further extension
because of possible negative repercussions on nearby urban areas, pointing out in addition that there were
no data on air pollution, which ‘was being determined by means of visual checks’ (1). In order to have the
extension approved, the AENA maintained in the relevant environmental impact study (2), in which it took
into account solely the effect of flights from one runway without considering all the other pollution factors
involved in the functioning of the airport, such as traffic on the runway and in the terminal and road
traffic, that the extension had not created noise or air pollution.

A complaint was submitted to the Commission in 1998 (3).

In the meantime, in November 1998, a third runway was opened only two kilometres from residential
areas and without establishing the effects of noise pollution. The construction of two further runways was
approved by a recent decision (4).

These decisions have been taken in contempt and in breach of numerous provisions and recommendations
issued on this subject by international organisations (5). In addition, the following measures of European
law seem to have been infringed: Directives 85/337/EEC and 97/11/EC on environmental impact
assessment (6), Directive 1999/30/EC on ambient air quality, because the levels of pollutants found in
neighbouring communes in 1998 are already in excess of the limit values (7), Directive 90/313/EC on
freedom of access to information, because there is no access to data on pollution, and Decision 97/101/EC
on the exchange of information on air pollution because the quarterly reports on air pollution do not
comply with the prescribed methods (8).

Can the Commission check that the Community legislation on environmental impact assessment, access to
information and ambient air quality has been complied with? What action does it intend to take to ensure
that measures are carried out to reduce noise pollution around the airport?

(1) F.A.  Alternative New Airport Site  June 1979.

(2) Environmental impact statement  Boletín Oficial del Estado (Official Bulletin of the State), 12.4.1996.
(3) Complaint 98/4830, SG(98)A/13900.
(4) Approval of the Master Plan for the Extension of Barajas  Boletín Oficial del Estado, 12.11.1999.
(5) In particular, the International Health Regulations (1983), the Guide to Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation (1978),
the Guideline for Air Quality in Europe and the Guideline for Community in Europe published by the World Health
Organisation; the Airport Planning Manual (Doc.9184-AN/902), Part 2, published by the International Civil
Aviation Organisation.
(6) The former has been transposed incompletely, the latter has not been transposed. Proceedings have been brought by
the EU.
(7) It should be pointed out that the intended increase in air traffic with the opening of the new runways could only
make those values worse.
(8) Instead of complying with the provisions of Decision 97/101/EC, in other words an hourly average based on
4 measurements every hour, the AENA takes daily averages only. In addition, instead of giving the limit values
(200 mcg/m3 not more than 18 times per annum), the AENA gives daily values, making it impossible to ascertain
how many times per annum the maximum values have been exceeded. Finally, the measure provides for 40 mcg/m3
on average over a 24 hour period. The AENA does not give this value and publishes the median of all the values

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(5 July 2000)

The Commission has been informed of the situation described by the Honourable Member.

The Commission notes that the increase in the number of aircraft in service and the noise resulting
therefrom are not covered by Community environmental legislation. In point of fact, Council Directive 80/
51/EEC of 20 December 1979 on the limitation of noise emissions from subsonic aircraft (1) and Council
18.4.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 113 E/23

Directive 92/14/EEC of 2 March 1992 on the limitation of the operation of aeroplanes covered by Part II,
Chapter 2, Volume 1 of Annex 16 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, second edition
(1988) (2) concern the noise emanating from the aircraft as products; the level of noise, for instance in line
with standards on maximum permitted noise, is not regulated. The same reasoning applies in the case of
night-time noise.

Sole responsibility for the planning of an airport, including its siting, rests with the Member States.

The Member States are also solely responsible for authorising the execution of a project, even where the
impact assessment demonstrates that the project has negative effects.

The new runway at Barajas Airport has been the subject of an impact assessment, compulsory in the case
in point, since the project in question is covered by Annex 1, point 7 of Council Directive 85/337/EEC of
27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environ-
ment (3).

It should be noted that Directive 85/337/CEE has been amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March
1997 (4). However, under Article 3(2) of Directive 97/11/CE, if a request for development consent was
submitted before 14 March 1999, the provisions of Directive 85/337/EEC prior to these amendments shall
continue to apply.

As for Council Directive 96/62/EEC of 27 September 1996 on the assessment and management of air
quality (5), this is a framework Directive which does not contain any specific obligations. Council Directive
1999/30/EC of 22 April 1999 relating to limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of
nitrogen, particulate matter and lead in ambient air (6), for its part, entered into force in July 1999. With
effect from 19 July 2001, Member States will be obliged to transmit the legislative measures for
transposing this Directive.

Article 3 of Council Directive 90/313/EEC of 7 June 1990 on freedom of access to information on the
environment (7) imposes an obligation on the authorities to make available, within two months, informa-
tion relating to the environment to any person requesting such information. The authorities have indeed
responded to such requests, albeit rather belatedly.

Council Decision 97/101/EC of 27 January 1997 establishing a reciprocal exchange of information and
data from networks and individual stations measuring ambient air pollution within the Member States (8)
seeks to organise the exchange of information among Member States. Accordingly, any non-compliance
with this Decision would not be relevant in the context of enlargement of the airport.

In the opinion of the Commission, it is incumbent on the Spanish authorities to provide adequate
protection for the local population against airport noise.

(1) OJ L 18, 24.1.1980.

(2) OJ L 76, 23.3.1992.
(3) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.
(4) OJ L 73, 14.3.1997.
(5) OJ L 296, 21.11.1996.
(6) OJ L 163, 29.6.1999.
(7) OJ L 158, 23.6.1990.
(8) OJ L 35, 5.2.1997.

(2001/C 113 E/020) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1549/00

by Vitaliano Gemelli (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(18 May 2000)

Subject: Economic and monetary policy

The continuing decline in the value of the Euro in relation to the dollar is causing serious concern in many
quarters in Europe. The political, economic, social services and financial sectors are calling for a clear
explanation of the EU’s economic and monetary strategy, while the Commission continues to send out
reassuring messages and the Council simply turns its back on the problem. The ECB has confined itself to