Industrial complex in Pontevedra, Spain


The Pontevedra river hosts several very polluting industries which have dumped their wastes into the river for many years. These industries are: ENCE, a pulp mill and biomass energy producer located by the river in 1963 and ELNOSA, a chemical company which produces chlorine-derivates.

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Basic Data
NameIndustrial complex in Pontevedra, Spain
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Chemical industries
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Elnosa - Production Of Chlorine And Derivates

Ence - Paper & Pulp & Energy
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsENCE company: capcity of celulose production: 430,000 tonnes/year

Electricity production from the biomass used in the process of celulose extraction: Biomass: 34.5 MW

Production in the last 12 months: 219 GWh
Project Area (in hectares)60
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population963,511
Start Date1963
Company Names or State EnterprisesEnce from Spain - pulp mill industry and biomass energy producer
ELNOSA from Portugal - chemical complex
Relevant government actorsGalician regional government, Pontevedra Town Council, Spanish government
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAsociación pola defensa da ría de Pontevedra, Verdegaia, Plataforma 2018, Salvemos Pontevedra
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesRestore and recover the affected area of La Ría
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Both factories are still working. Besides, the end-date of 2018, when the public land concession would be finished and the factories would be supposed to stop or be relocated, has been extended by the Spanish Ministry of Environment. Also, the ENCE company was condemned by the Spanish Courts (6 of the company representatives were condemned) but activists allege they never went to jail and the fine was never paid.
Sources and Materials

Ley 2/2013, de 29 de mayo, de protección y uso sostenible del litoral y de

modificación de la Ley 22/1988, de 28 de julio, de Costas:
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web with the history of the ENCE industry:
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newspaper article: (1/1/2014) Medio Ambiente renueva los permisos ambientales de Ence y Elnosa. El Pais:
[click to view]

newspaper article: Honorato, V. (12/11/2013). El Pais. Ence admite ahora que nunca se planteó trasladar la fábrica de Pontevedra.
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newspaper article. Honorato, V. (15/6/2011) Una sentencia obliga a paralizar la actividad de Ence en Pontevedra. El Pais:
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Newspaper article. Honorato, V. (6/6/2011). Ence sigue contaminando, pero menos. El Pais:
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Newspaper article. (27/5/2008). Ence vierte cada día 14.443 kilos de residuos a la ría de Pontevedra. La voz de Pontevedra:
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Newspaper article. EFE (6/11/2002). Condenados por delito ecológico en Galicia seis directivos de Ence. El Pais:
[click to view]

Blog with newspaper articles. (26/04/2008). 3.000 manifestantes piden en Pontevedra el traslado de Ence.
[click to view]

[click to view]

Newspaper article. Gago, M (24/11/2013). La voz de Pontevedra:
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newspaper article. (2013). Cientos de personas rechazan en Pontevedra las prórrogas para que Ence y Elnosa puedan consolidarse junto a la ría. La información:
[click to view]

Media Links

youtube clip:
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youtube clip on a protest:
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youtube clip:
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Meta Information
ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update03/05/2014