What follows is information to the Commission concerning the ‘Gran Scala — Los Monegros’ project, pursuant to which a huge 2 000-hectare leisure complex is to be developed in the Los Monegros area of Aragón (Spain). The project would constitute the largest leisure ‘megacomplex’ in the world, with facilities including 32 casinos and five theme parks. If the project were to go ahead it would be located in an area of great environmental and ecological value which is home to unique steppe species of both flora and fauna. The Los Monegros area is protected as part of the Natura 2000 network (Estepas Monegillo y Pina SPAB, Retuerta and Saladas de Sastago SPAB, Monegros SCI and Montes de Alfajarin-Saso de Osera SCI).
As reported by Spain's Higher Council for Scientific Research, the Los Monegros area is notable for its exceptional nature and its equilibrium, which have enabled significant populations of steppe birds such as the pin-tailed sandgrouse and the black-bellied sandgrouse to be conserved and other endangered species such as the great bustard, the little bustard and the kestrel to survive. This state of affairs has prompted SEO-Birdlife to classify the area as an IBA (Important Bird Area). It should be borne in mind that the area is home to over 5 400 species — most of them invertebrates and many of them highly endemic taxa.
On account of a major water shortage which (according to data provided by the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation) has occurred over the last two years in particular, there are insufficient water resources for the project, development of which would undermine the objectives of the framework directive on water. Gran Scala's impact would be felt as far away as the Pyrenees, which would by greatly affected by the construction of reservoirs from which to supply the complex. Even though the final site for the project has yet to be approved (and the procedure is still at a preliminary stage), it is public knowledge that the project is the Aragon Government's main hope for the future, for which reason it will eventually go ahead. In view of the scale of the project, the Commission is asked to seek information without delay regarding the implications for water and energy resources, the impact which the development of the associated infrastructure will have on a rural area such as the one concerned, and so on.
Will the Commission say whether the compensatory measures adopted in respect of the Los Monegros irrigated areas have been implemented (pursuant to the undertaking given by the Aragon Government to the Commission)? Will the Commission provide information concerning the conservation projects for the endangered species in the area?