The Sagunt City Council unanimously approved on Monday an opinion in favor of the installation of the SEAT-Volkswagen battery gigafactory in its municipal area, but which rejects the location of the adjacent photovoltaic plants, as well as the western layout of the network supply of said plants.
However, the president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, warned yesterday that the ruling is not binding and emphasized that the Generalitat will comply with all its commitments and that “naturally” the project as a whole will go ahead “meeting all the deadlines as it has been happening up to now.”
In the document issued by the Sagunt City Council, to which this medium has had access, it is explained that “such an overwhelming occupation of such an amount of land for the benefit and/or convenience of an activity is not admissible, however strategic it may be” .
An argument defended by the Councilor for Town Planning, Josep Francesc Fernández Carrasco, who in statements to The vanguard He explained that the plant project is “coherent with the general plan and with the territorial balance, but it is not favorable with regard to the proposed photovoltaic areas.” Fernández Carrasco pointed out that the dimensions set out in the document prepared by the Ministry of Territorial Policy are “incompatible” with urban planning because “land occupation is excessive”.
Iberdrola, as a partner in the electric and connected vehicle project presented to PERTE, would be the company responsible for the plants, as revealed in the project presentation last May. Then it was announced that the gigafactory will be supplied with 20% solar energy thanks to this project.
In addition, since the document is critical of the document prepared by the Rebeca Torró department, it alleges that the regional administrative decision that approved “without further ado” the delimitation of the proposed photovoltaic macroscopes “would incur in arbitrariness, in mere public voluntarism to satisfy a unsubstantiated private claim, without consideration or environmental and urban valuation of any kind, generating an extensive occupation of the definitive and irreversible land”.
Sagunt’s opinion makes the Generalitat Valenciana ugly because it accepts the location of the plants “without weighting or environmental assessment”
The report also states that the solar plant -scheduled in the north of the Palancia river- has a larger area than the urban center of Sagunto, on both sides of the river with an estimated length of 5 kilometers from end to end, while the one in the south supposes additionally, a surface “also not negligible in its entity and surface”.
According to Urban Planning estimates, only the area of the photovoltaic plants is raised on land where today there are about 150,000 trees, so the sum of both projects is erected on land with around half a million trees. . Of them, approximately 95% are agricultural crops in production, in which there are plots that are in perfect condition and others, certainly, abandoned. However, the urbanization of the area plans to incorporate a percentage of green areas, as is already the case in Parc Sagunt I, where the landscaping project is currently being worked on at a cost of around six million euros.
It should be noted that the municipal opinion that is the subject of the media commotion is not binding, but it is mandatory and it is prepared, as the person in charge of Urban Planning in the Sagunt City Council points out, “based on legal and technical criteria, regardless of the political issue.”
For this reason, he encouraged an agreement to be found, so that both the Generalitat Valenciana and the company, POWER HOLDCO in this case, “understand” the municipal position, he defended.
Urbanism also observes that the contribution to the municipal coffers of said solar plants “is practically zero”
Another of the aspects that the document questions to show its disagreement with the area drawn for the location of the photovoltaics is the proximity of the plants to the gigafactory, since it understands that it only meets an economic criterion. He states that if such a close location is “essential” for the viability of the implementation of the gigafactory and is thus solidly justified, “it will be necessary to conclude that the provisions of the current special plan for the Sagunto logistics area that is in the investigation phase are insufficient ”.
On the other hand, the Town Planning councilor also pointed out, the contribution to the municipal coffers of these plants “is practically zero and that is also important.” The company, as it is a project classified as a Strategic Territorial Project (PTE) can count on tax advantages, exemptions from urban charges and others provided for in Valencian legislation.