Posted on 20 May 2020
After a 30-year struggle, the controversial Biscarrues dam on the Gallego river will not be built after Spain's Supreme Court ruled against its construction.
“We knew that the Biscarrues dam was bad for the people of the Gallego, for nature and for the river, and against the law and the values of our society. Today, after decades of protest by communities, local municipalities and environmental organisations, the Supreme Court agreed with us and finally axed this destructive dam," said Eva Hernández, WWF Lead of the Living European Rivers Initiative.
With this decision, the Supreme Court confirms the National Court’s ruling in 2017. It also recognizes the region's valuable natural and socio-cultural heritage and establishes a major legal precedent jurisprudence on the application of the Water Framework Directive in Spain.
The Water Framework Directive is one of Europe's most ambitious pieces of environmental legislation. The law commits all countries to ensure that rivers, lakes and wetlands reach a good status by 2027. The European Commission is currently discussing whether to reopen the Directive - sparking the #ProtectWater campaign, which has already received the support of more than 375,000 people, 5,500 scientists, 150 organisations and 23 major businesses from across Europe.
“The decision is a historic event and a great victory for people and nature in the region, but also for other rivers in Europe. The Water Framework Directive is the best protector of Europe's rivers - and healthy rivers are essential for more resilient societies and economies," added Hernández.
The construction of the Biscarrués dam would have resulted in severe environmental impacts, since it would have destroyed one of the last free flowing sectiosn of the river, which is critical for nature and communities.
And local communities have been celebrating the decision since it will prevent the flooding of their fields and the loss of their spectacular environment, which offers them livelihoods and a sustainable future.