Valencia, SPAIN

Manifesto against the expansion of the port

By Comissió Ciutat-Port

Facing the situation:

– Port of Valenciaʼs determination to expand, now proposing the construction of the northern freight terminal and the cruise terminal less than 400m far from the neighbourhood, and the activation of the Area of Logistic Activities (ZAL).

– Inaction by public authorities to prevent it, or at least not to paralyse it until there is sufficient evidence of impacts and costs and an informed debate. – Eco-social crisis and the commitments acquired with the declarations of climate emergency and the climate change laws of the City Council, the Regional Government and the State.

– Eco-social crisis and the commitments acquired with the declarations of climate emergency and the climate change laws of the City Council, the Regional Government and the State.

The organized social, neighborhoods, unions, and environmental entities of l’Horta and the city of Valencia want to express:

The expansion of the Port can NOT “make economic growth compatible with respect for the environment” – This is the message repeated by the President of the Generalitat Ximo Puig, the Mayor Joan Ribó and the Councillor Arcadi Spain when they talk about the impacts of this expansion plans. But the effects that the port has already caused and those that will come from the expansion on the beaches, l’Albufera, air, and water quality on health area of such magnitude, of such cost to the public funds and so irreversible, that it is impossible for the expansion project to be acceptable either socially, environmentally nor economically.

Past failures can’t support bigger mistakes in the future

We are told that the northern breakwater has already been built and that this implies that we must continue, but it is better to stop now than to continue squandering money on a project that will irreversibly determine the model of the city for our daughters or granddaughters for the next 100 years, which goes against the same guidelines in terms of territory that the Consell is promoting and which has a short lifespan, given the characteristics of the sector. It is important to remember that the port has already made the beaches of La Devesa retreat, it has destroyed La Punta and the Natzaret neighborhood.

On demand planning for companies vs. the right to decide of the citizens

We are told that we cannot ‘renounce’ a private investment of 800 million euros, but we are not told that the expansion of the port will imply spending more than 4,000 million euros of public money to make it functional, as it will entail creating a northern access and additional widening of the V-30, V-31 and V-21. Moreover, the expansion will have effects on health, air quality, noise, the destruction and fragmentation of ecosystems, the Horta that feeds us and on our towns, which we will pay for, not the port or the operating company, and this will drive us into such a debt that will impede us to be able to develop a diverse, local and sustainable city model.

Spend the money on what is really important and urgent: climate change and planning for the common good. In a modern democratic society, investments must be evaluated in the light of sustainability and equity, of their capacity to generate well-being and secure the future, especially when we are talking about such exorbitant amounts and such impactful actions. The port is a capital-intensive, high-technology, short-term investment, while in the current situation, job-intensive investments are more necessary.

Consequently, as inhabitants of the affected territory, we demand:

1. The immediate and unconditional withdrawal of:

− Northern Port expansion project − Construction of new cruise terminal − Northern access to the Port and expansion of road transport infrastructure Reversion of the first phase infrastructures: northern breakwater and ZAL.

2. Economics for people

Prioritize public investments and reallocate those planned for the expansion of the Port to: − To address all the impacts and damage it has already caused to Valencian neighborhoods and ecosystems, and − To sectors and urgent needs: local agriculture, public and quality health, and productive diversification − Fiscal policy: urgent elimination of fiscal and administrative privileges and subsidies for the private activity of the port in order to incorporate at least part of the socio-environmental costs that it generates, and thus be able to reinvest these revenues in the improvement of more sustainable mobility models, in promoting fairer economic sectors and more socially distributive, and that are not based on fossil fuels.

3. Protect people’s health, putting life at the center:

It is imperative to protect the health of the people who live in the port’s area of influence, which is why we demand the definition and immediate application of plans for the control and effective reduction of air and noise pollution emissions, in accordance with the safe levels of pollution for people established by the World Health Organization. Plans capable to reach the reduction of CO2 emissions of 7.6% per year necessary to meet the climate objectives of 2030, which, in addition, must be accompanied by the promotion of production-consumption models of proximity, in order to eliminate the carbon footprint of the products.

4. Eco-climatic responsibility:

 To promote and implement a new model of governance for ports and any initiative derived from them, which gives more voice and vote to the territories affected and which contextualises management and decision-making to the current eco-climatic, economic and social situation.

To definitively abandon any expansion of the port, for both shipping and cruises, including Area of Logistic Activities (ZAL).

We urge those territory decision-makers, the President of the Regional Government Ximo Puig, his Councillor of Territory Arcadi España and the Mayor of València Joan Ribó, to safeguard the citizens they represent, and to take a decisive and active position in favour of the general interest of citizens instead of the interests of private companies, and to stop the port expansion project, in order to promote other socially, economically and environmentally sustainable initiatives, free of greenhouse gases and carbon, that put life at the centre.