11) The body that will decide the preferential configuration of the airport, the air routes… starting in March 2002 will be The Commission for the Environmental Follow-up of the construction stages of the ‘Pla Barcelona’, better known as the CSAAB.

A) Why was the CSAAB created ?

B) How was the CSAAB created ?

C) How is the CSAAB officially regulated ?

D) What is the CSAAB’s scope ?

E) What is the composition of the CSAAB ?

F) What rules govern the way CSAAB works ?

G) The view from Gavà Mar:

- Excluded neighbors, grave consequences
- Complete fragmentation concerning the Catalan division
- Incongruities in the structure
- A state front wins voting without any kind of problems




One of the conditions –concretely the 11th condition– that the Environmental Impact Declaration (D.I.A.) requires for the expansion of the El Prat airport is the creation of a commission for the environmental follow up of the construction stages of the Pla Barcelona, better known as the CSAAB.

Furthermore, the D.I.A. is published in the BOE (official Gazette) on January 18th, 2002, clearly specifying that the CSAAB must be established by the legal deadline of two months, which means that the commission should have been created by March 18th, 2002.




On March 22nd, 2002 (4 days after the legal deadline) the CSAAB held its first meeting in the Executive Office of the Pla Barcelona. Dídac Pestaña, the mayor of Gavà, was present representing the City Council of Gavà.

Cabecera de la primera acta de reunión de la CSAAB (22 de marzo de 2002)

A representative of the ‘Ministerio de Fomento’ (Ángel Villa) explained how the same commission already created for the expansion of the Madrid-Barajas airport operates. (CSAAM).

The Ministry for the Environment assured the City Council of Gavà that it would be considered a permanent member of the CSAAB and not only when it comes to issues dealing with noise, since it is building the new Center for Air Traffic Control within the municipality. The City Council of Castelldefels solicited the same treatment (even though there are no airport facilities located in its vicinity) and it obtained it in April 2002.

It’s not until the fourth meeting of the CSAAB (July 12th, 2002) that the commission’s regulations of operation were proposed and approved.




More than a year after the D.I.A.'s publication in the BOE, the Ministerial Order Pre/220 dating from February 5th, 2003 was published in the BOE on February 12th, 2003, meaning the official creation of the CSAAB.

Orden Ministerial Pre/220 de 5 de Febrero de 2003 por la que se crea la CSAAB del aeropuerto del Prat BOE - Order PRE-229-2003, by which the CSAAB was created




The general powers of the CSAAB include controlling and tracking the balance of preventive measures, corrections and compensations that arise during the construction phase and throughout the expansion process of the Barcelona airport.

The CSAAB’s powers that are of a more particular character include:

  • Among other research studies, also approve of the following:
    • Research on noise
    • The acoustic isolation plan
    • Other corrective measures in relation to the noise produced by the operation of aircrafts
    • The design of the sound detector network
    • The operative program for the tracking and control of noise within the terms established by the D.I.A.
  • Agree that AENA, previously in agreement with those affected, carries out the necessary actions for acoustic isolation so that the sound levels in the interior of housing, included in the acoustic isolation plan, comply with those set out by the D.I.A.
  • All other functions attributed by the D.I.A. or whichever other legal norm or regulation.




With regards to tracking and controlling noise and approving the acoustic isolation plan, its make up is the following:

Catalan division: 8 representatives
- 1 representative from the Department of Territory Politics and Public Works (Generalitat de Catalunya)
- 1 representative from the Environmental Department (Generalitat de Catalunya)
- 1 representative from the City Council of El Prat de Llobregat
- 1 representative from the City Council of Sant Boi de Llobregat
- 1 representative from the City Council of Viladecans
- 1 representative from the City Council of Gavà
- 1 representative from the City Council of Castelldefels
- 1 representative from the City Council of Barcelona
State division: 8 representatives
- 3 representatives from the Ministry of the Environment, represented as an environmental memberl
- 2 representatives from the General Management of Civil Aviation of the ‘Ministerio de Fomento’, represented as a substantive member
- 3 representatives from the public entity, AENA, represented as an advocate
The Presidency and the Secretariat
The presidency is conjoined, made up of the ‘Ministerio de Fomento’ and the Ministry of the Environment (state division)
The secretariat is occupied by AENA (state division)




The governing rules will abide by that which is set out by the collegial organs in Chapter II of Section II of Law 30/1992, dating from November 26th, of the Judicial Regulation of Public Administrations and the Common Administrative Procedure.

capítulo II del Título II de la Ley 30/1992, de 26 de noviembre, de Régimen Jurídico de las Administraciones Públicas y del Procedimiento Administrativo Común - Chapter II of Section II of Law 30/1992, from November 26th

Decision-making actions are susceptible to appeals made at the level of the subsecretary of ‘Fomento’.




The CSAAB tries to create an image of democracy because of the many institutions represented, which is misleading from our point of view:

1) We, the residents remain excluded from the CSAAB, and this creates grave consequences

We, the associations of neighbors, don’t have representation, despite the fact that we have repeatedly requested it. We must carry out our requests through our respective City Councils.

This is how paradoxes are created, just like the already existing one in Gavà Mar, in which AVV Gavà Mar has been defending the use of a specific operation in the West configuration (takeoffs from the third runway with a turn towards the sea) while the City Council of Gavà has been defending another possibility (takeoffs from the main runway) for a long time.

Ayuntamiento de Gavà: "El aeropuerto no provocará contaminación acústica en el barrio de Gavà Mar" (Mayo de 2004) - The City Council of Gavà reports (May 2004)

Respuesta detallada de la AVV de Gavà Mar a la información FALSA del Ayuntamiento de Gavà (Mayo de 2004) - AVV Gavà Mar’s detailed response (May 2004)


This is how things remained until the third runway was put into operation. The City Council of Gavà then realized that they clearly had been wrong and they needed to set things right by completely taking on the AVV Gavà Mar’s proposal.

A lot of time was lost because we were not able to defend our proposals directly in front of the CSAAB.


2) Complete fragmentation concerning the Catalan division

The 8 state representatives represent 3 organizations, which could really be condensed into 2 organizations given that AENA and the ‘Ministerio de Fomento’ always have parallel aims –thus, the representatives add up to 5.

The 8 Catalan representatives represent 8 different organizations; therefore, it is much harder to come to an agreement among them and furthermore each representative counts for only one vote.

Quite the opposite, the ‘Ministerio de Fomento’ and AENA control 5 votes and the Ministry of the Environment –which has also been at the service of the ‘Ministerio de Fomento’ up to the middle of 2006– controls 3 votes.


3) Incongruities in the structure

Why does the state Ministry of the Environment have 3 representatives while the Environmental Department of the Generalitat only has 1?

Why does the state ‘Ministerio de Fomento’ have 2 representatives (and 3 more from AENA) while the Department of Territorial Politics of the Generalitat only has 1?

Why have towns such as Begues and Sitges (Les Botigues de Sitges) been excluded from the CSAAB, even though they were later affected by the noise of the airplanes and will yet again be affected if the airport starts to operate with independent runways?


4) A state front wins voting without any kind of problems

Imagine that one day votes are cast and the entire Catalan division comes to agree on the same standpoint (which is difficult because we are dealing with 8 different organizations) and the entire state division comes to agree on the exact opposite standpoint, thus creating a tie of 8 votes.

What would happen next ?
Then the presidency would cast the deciding vote.

And who controls the presidency ???
Well, the state division, hence, voting won by the state division... in a completely democratic way... thanks to this composition of the CSAAB… obviously.