October 24, 2020

The Supreme Court annuls the environmental protection agreement that Castilla-La Mancha approved to prevent the nuclear silo


A new setback on one of the fronts of the judicial battle that the Castilian-Manchego government maintains against the construction of the nuclear garbage dump, whose location was set in Villar de Cañas (Cuenca) almost ten years ago. The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal that the regional Executive presented against the judgment of the Superior Court of Justice of the region (TSJCM) which completely annulled the agreement and subsequent decree of the Board, of the years 2015 and 2016 respectively, which expanded the surface of the Laguna de Hito Protected Area from 1,000 to 23,000 hectares. This measure seeks to prevent the construction of the Temporary Centralized Warehouse (ATC) for nuclear waste in the area, the location of which was approved by the Council of Ministers in 2011.

A new sentence declares the nullity of the expansion of the ZEPA that would have stopped the nuclear cemetery

A new sentence declares the nullity of the expansion of the ZEPA that would have stopped the nuclear cemetery

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The Supreme Court agrees with the Superior Court of Justice, which agreed to the nullity of both agreements and stressed that, when approving them, the Government of Emiliano García-Page knew the location and extension of the planned Villar de Cañas ATC, “incurring deviation of power”. That is to say, the High Court shares the decision of the TSJCM and also underlines that this competence is state, “about whose general interest there can be no doubts” and that it was also developed with “the acquiescence and technical and scientific approval” of the appellant Administration .

In fact, the judicial resolution affirms that “without sufficient, adequate and reasoned scientific accreditation”, the Castilian-Manchego Executive sought a supposedly protective extension, but in a competence that was not its own and “with the consequent violation of the aforementioned constitutional precept.” Thus, the magistrates add that the State, when it adopted its decision to locate the nuclear deposit, “proceeded to weigh all the concurrent public interests and, especially, the environmental public interests.”

For all these reasons, the Supreme Court indicates that the Community Board of Castilla-La Mancha, in reality, did not intend to expand the habitat of the species mentioned in the BIRDS Directive, nor the adoption of special conservation measures regarding said habitat, nor Nor does it ensure the survival and reproduction of the common crane in its wintering in the Laguna de El Hito, but, as the sentence indicates, “pursue a surreptitious purpose of obstructing the exercise of state jurisdiction, taking refuge in the appearance of the need to expansion and conservation of natural spaces, however laudable such a purpose may be ‘”.

The Board “has not sought compliance with environmental mandates”

Therefore, the court concludes that the TSJCM resolution “conforms to all jurisprudence” and that the Castilian-Manchego Government, with its appeal, has not sought “compliance with the environmental mandates” of the AVES Directive, as such compliance has to be carried out “with the protective purpose that is deduced from the European norm and within the appropriate framework for the exercise of all competing powers, and with respect for those corresponding to all the public administrations owning them”.

The ruling that at the time issued the regional court estimated the resources of the Villar de Cañas City Council and the General State Administration and annulled the 2015 agreement of the regional government, which approved the start of the procedure for expanding the Protected Area Laguna de Hito, as well as the 2016 decree that expanded the Laguna de El Hito Special Protection Area (ZEPA) and made a proposal to the European Commission for its declaration as a Site of Community Importance (SCI).

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