Saturday, April 18, 2009

Aguirre Versus El Pardo

With the war for control of Caja Madrid temporarily sidelined following the intervention of the national government, Madrid's presidenta has been urgently seeking new ways of making life difficult for the city's mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón. There is every chance that Gallardon's administration is going to end up in court charged with an environmental crime following the removal of some trees from the Calle Serrano. Nobody knows exactly how many trees were cut as part of a plan to reform the street that is apparently now the most expensive in Spain, ahead of Barcelona's Paseo de Gracia. Expensive for snobbish rather than aesthetic reasons, the street is obviously even less pleasing to the eye without the trees, but the scale of this latest atrocity pales in comparison with the tree massacre that was perpetrated in what should now be known as the Manzanares Dustbowl. Nevertheless, Esperanza Aguirre has seized the opportunity to poke Gallardón in the eye, and the Guardia Civil's environmental unit have been sent down to the crime scene to count the victims and do some shopping.

It would be very unwise to assume that Aguirre has become an ecologist, and even unwiser to imagine that she applies the same sort of strict environmental criteria to her own projects. Leading by example is not the Lideresa's way. Her latest grand plan is to bore a traffic tunnel through the previously protected space of El Pardo, just a few kilometres outside of the city. Sadly, it seems that the national government is giving its consent to this destructive and unnecessary plan. The project was unblocked at a meeting between Aguirre and Jose Blanco, the new minister of Fomento. One consequence of this seems to be that the regional PSOE in Madrid is now dropping its previous fierce opposition to the project. Despite this, there should still be vociferous opposition to the scheme from those who value the role that El Pardo and the Casa de Campo play in preventing the spread of concrete over the entire region.

Nobody expects the Comunidad to carry out a serious environmental impact study. Aguirre's scheme to widen and straighten the M-501 to the west of Madrid was supposed to have been halted whilst the European Union dealt with the environmental implications of it. Whilst Brussels was under the impression that work had stopped, Aguirre had in fact given orders to speed it up! By the time the EU cottoned on to what was happening the job was more or less done and the punishment for her defiance was, unsurprisingly, nothing. Many suspected that the main motive behind the work on the M-501 was to boost the potential of the area it passes through for construction interests. For the moment, the crisis is taking care of the countryside. Another of Aguirre's contributions to protecting the environment is her proposal to build a new private airport near to a place called El Alamo. Davy Crockett was unavailable for comment at the time of writing. Perhaps the best solution will be to chain Espe to one of the few remaining trees on Serrano, so that she can defy Gallardon's chainsaws down to the last limb.


Colin said...

Good old Espe. She seems to be Fomenting successfuly with Blanco and fomenting successfuly with Gallardon as well. You have to hand it to her. Well, not you, obviously. :-)

PS i hear Blanco's coastal flat here in Galicia recently acquired legal status. Lucky chap.

Graeme said...

I just wish they'd do their fomenting somewhere else. Still, I see that the government is appealing Galicia's attempt to destroy the Ley de Costas - maybe you'll still have a stretch of beach you're allowed to walk on?

Colin said...

Yes, I saw that just after I'd posted my comment. Happily, there are any number of beaches withing a few minutes of my house. And they are empty outside the Spanish beach hours of the day and months of the year. It pays to be counter-sheepish. Well, it would if I coulod take the sun.