Environment

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Environmental Management

Menorca airport, in compliance with the requirements of EMAS certification, has drawn up this Environmental Statement validated by AENOR, which it has made available to the public. This Statement, for 2018, is intended to inform stakeholders clearly and unambiguously of the environmental impacts generated by airport activity and the improvement initiatives now in place. Through this voluntary initiative, Menorca Airport provides transparent and ongoing information on its environmental behaviour, creating an open channel for dialogue with all the parties involved in its activity.

Menorca airport, with close to 3.5 million passengers, has a long history of caring for and respecting the environment. In all the activities on its facilities, special attention is paid to possible changes or effects which might arise during building work, aeronautical operations, and other activities which take place in and around the airport.

This is attested to by the introduction and certification of recognised management systems, such as ISO 14.001 and ISO 9001. Menorca Airport has held these environmental and quality certificates since the early 2000s, and was one of the first Spanish airports to do so in the Aena network. Partnerships with companies for controlling and preventing issues in such important areas as water treatment and purification, waste management, the reduction of energy consumption and gas emissions, conserving the local environment, etc., have always been part of the daily work of the airport's professionals. In this regard, and in the privileged setting of the island of Menorca, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1993, the airport has always striven to keep pace with society, as it becomes more motivated and aware of the need to conserve and respect the most precious asset of this wonderful part of the Mediterranean: its natural setting. Visitors immediately notice the perfect balance of natural values, care for traditions and the landscape, and modern comforts.

Menorca Airport is aware of the strategic importance of these airport facilities for the island as a whole, given that tourism is the main driver of the island's economy and the airport is the main point of access for this sector. In keeping with the island, the airport is committed to decarbonisation, actively taking part in the Menorca 2030 project with diverse initiatives such as refurbishing the general car park with the installation of 5,000 m2 of solar panels on roofing, added to those already in place in P2. This project will create the largest self-consumption photovoltaic plant on the island, with production of over 550kw. We thus continue to seek ways to improve and become more efficient, adapting to the needs of customers and their concerns, with pride of place given to respect for the environment.

Wild vegetation

Wild vegetation

Aware that inside some airports there are natural treasures that have remained untouched by humans, Menorca Airport, together with Grup Ornitològic Balear (GOB), has carried out a classification of the plants in its environment, in order to find out the botanical communities existing within the airport grounds.

The two plant domains (plant communities that occupy landscape untouched by humans) that exist on the island have been found at Menorca Airport: the Balearic holm oak (Cyclamini-Quercetum ilicis typicum) and the Menorca wild olive tree (Prasio-Oleetum), which develops in the areas where the holm oak cannot grow. On the lands that have less depth and are rockier, where oaks and wild olive trees cannot survive, there are different bush and herbaceous communities (clovers and grasses), with outstanding presence of bulbous plants, adapted to the strong summer drought.

Background

In the 1970s, before the airport facilities were built, the land currently occupied by the airport grounds was an agricultural-farming area. We can still observe today that lands that have not been touched for security reasons have evolved in a manner similar to agricultural areas that have stopped being farmed.

The former agricultural-farming land is being gradually colonised by other plants, which find a favourable substrate for their development. The plant communities of the surrounding areas are always those that have more possibilities of occupying the available land. In this way, the former farmed fields are colonised by species that find it difficult to coexist with agricultural management.

The low bushy species are an earlier stage since, in a short time, they will be followed by the colonisation of larger sized wild olive trees and mastic trees. In this wild area, in addition to the dispersion of seeds caused by weather phenomena or by insects, certain fauna specialised in seed collection plays a part, such as the dormouse, Elyomis quercinus, or the different species of mice present in Menorca, which store the seeds to survive the winter and allow the remaining forgotten seeds to germinate.

Current vegetation

In the sample that has been taken within the Menorca airport grounds a total of 197 different plant species have been identified, over an area of 100 hectares, which are grouped in the following plant communities or associations: within the sclerophyllous woods we find the Mediterranean holm oak and Menorca wild olive tree; and among thickets and former pasturelands we find the calcareaous garrigue, the sub-associationHydochoerido-Brachypodietum phoenicoidis, the association Urtico-Smyrnietum olusatri, the association Echio-Galactition tomentosae, the association Centrantho-Parietarion judaicae, the association Resedo-Chrysanthemum coronarii and the association Trifolio-Cynodontetum.

Environmental assessment of existing vegetation

The greatest interest of this study of Menorca airport vegetation lies in the fact that it acts as an environmental laboratory in which it is possible to observe the natural evolution undergone by the different plant domains, when agricultural practices are abandoned.

From a botanical standpoint, it is expected that wild olive trees end up occupying most of the abandoned lands, with the exception of the areas where there is not enough fertile soil to survive in summer. In the places where the wild olive trees do not have enough land, we will find the rosemary garrigue as the main community. Meadows dominate in the dryer areas, which are inhabited by herbivores such as rabbits or tortoises. Furthermore, it is highly likely that, with a reasonably favourable climate, some of the interesting patches of Balearic oak within the grounds will extend little by little.

Some species mentioned in this environmental study are of special interest as they are scarce or threatened natural values. In this respect, we would highlight orchids, which give some areas an outstanding botanical interest.

On the other hand, the general development of the untouched areas of vegetation at Menorca Airport towards a state of colonisation by wild species undoubtedly offers shelter to interesting fauna. The fact that they are areas without intense human presence helps certain species, capable of coexisting with airport activity, to become established.

In this regard, and always with appropriate security measures, both for airport operations and the fauna itself, there is the possibility of using part of the land as a reserved area for some threatened species, such as, for example, the tortoise (Testudo hermanni).