Airport in Vienna: good news!

In the past months, we have been over flowed by the ongoing debate on the building of the new stadium for the Roma football team. It seems that Italy cannot make do without using up land for merely commercial purposes. Is this the case for other nations? Perhaps not!

We have noticed how spatial development is becoming more and more attentive to soil preservation. One of the best examples is Austria that has prevented the building of the third airport runway in Vienna airport. This order followed a court decision the motivations of which were the negative impact it would have on the climate, and the destruction of agricultural land. On 9 February 2017 the Vienna Federal Administrative Court stated that ‘public interest towards protection against climate change, mainly due to CO² emissions, is greater than positive public interests to be received at the implementation of this project’. According to the experts’ report the judges had requested to consult, a 2% increase in greenhouse gas emissions is expected to take place. Moreover, judges underline the concern with losing usable agricultural area: ‘To preserve rich lands to be used to feed our future generations is a matter of urgency equally upon us’. Indeed the third runway project had been set out for 760 ha of agricultural land.Apparently, the Viennese court’s decision is the first in the world. Until now all similar appeals had been rejected.

The project managers were fully surprised: ‘Aeroplanes will not be flying less, they will land elsewhere’ and ‘we will not let our jobs disappear off to Bratislava or Monaco’. They will turn to higher administrative jurisdiction, and potentially the Austrian Constitutional Court.

This is all within a nationalistic logic which does not even take into account that Bratislava and Monaco are still in European Union countries and that although this may not create more jobs in aviation, it will keep jobs in agriculture and tourism.

And what about Italian judges? Will they be able to make the same brave and innovative decisions, putting health and the environment before economic and financial benefits?