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San Glorio Ski Complex, Spain


The San Glorio ski resort project is aimed to be constructed between the Puerto de San Glorio, (1,609 m high) (Cantabria) and the towns of Cardaño de Arriba (Palencia) and Portilla de la Reina (León). The project entails the construction of a macro-ski resort in two natural parks, protected by EU environmental legislation (Parque Natural de Fuentes Carrionas and Fuente del Cobre and Parque Regional de Picos de Europa). The Spanish Ministry of Environment has always been against the project, but the regional governments and the Town Councils have pushed forward the project. The opinion of the local population of the area is split. Some see this tourist project as the only possibility of development in a council characterised by economic decline. Other people in the area (along with national environmental organisations) think that the project would negatively affect the environment and could destroy more environmentally-friendly paths for economic development. The Regional governemnt and the town Councils governed by the PP and PSOE have changed the environmental legislation, allowing the construction of the macro-ski resort within the natural parks. This conflict was brought before the European Court of Justice by environmental groups and in 2008, and the Court cancelled the permits allowing the construction of the ski-resort within the natural parks. Following that decision the project is frozen but has not been completelly abandoned.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:San Glorio Ski Complex, Spain
State or province:Cantabria, Palencia and León
Location of conflict:El Puerto de San Glorio (Cantabria), Cardaño de Arriba (Palencia) and Portilla de la Reina (León)
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Specific commodities:Tourism services

Project Details and Actors

Project details

80 km ski resorts 14 chair lifts, 2 cablecars and 16 drag lifts 58,000 m2 to use as a parking for buses capacity for 32,500 skiers per hour.

Construction of a road from Portilla de la Reina.

Construction of a parking for the skiers.

Expansion of already existing roads.

Construction of hotel complexes with hoteles, malls, sport centres, and ice/skating ring.

Project area:1220
Level of Investment:91000000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:30000
Start of the conflict:2003
Company names or state enterprises:Tres Provincias S.A. from Spain
Serveis i Equipaments de Muntanya from Spain
EULEN from Spain - the main stockholder, known in the construction sector.
Relevant government actors:Junta de Castilla y León , Cantabria Government, Town Council of Boca de Huérgano , Spanish Ministry of Environment
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Plataforma en Defensa de San Glorio, with the following groups:, Ecologistas en Acción Palencia, FAPAS, Club de Montaña Fuentes Carrionas, Fundación Globalnature, Asoc. Conservación y Estudio Lobo Ibérico, Izquierda Unida, Club de Montaña Nevada, Club Orientación Rio Carrión, ARCA Cantabria, Asociación Econaturalista Palentina, ACUP, Asoc. de Naturalistas Palentinos, CGT Palencia, GUM (Grupo Universitario de Montaña) Valladolid, Colectivo Norte, Instituto Alavés de la Naturaleza, CIFAES, Regüelta Cantabria, Promúsica Palencia, Puenteci-jazz, Club de Montaña Espigüete, Ecologistas en Acción Vitoria, Grupo Alavés para Defensa y Estudio Naturaleza, Grupo Lobo de Euskadi, Asociación para un Trato Ético de los Animales, Grupo Montañero Curavacas, Ecologistas en Acción Cantabria, Ecologistas en Acción Extremadura, Asoc. Para la Recuperación del Bosque Autóctono en Valladolid, Galanthus. Asoc estudio Medio Amb. De Girona, Asociación de Naturalistas del Sureste, STEE-EILAS (sindicato de trabajadores de la enseñanza de Euskadi), Coordinadora Ecoloxista dAsturies, Colectivo Ecologista de Avilés, Asociación Deportiva Altai, Coordinadora Central Salinas, A.V. Pan y Guindas (Palencia), GRUPO NATURALISTA HONTZA /HONTZA NATUR ELKARTEA, CGT España, Coordinadora Ornitolóxica d´Asturies, CGT Valladolid, CGT Segovia, GECA Asturias, Asoc. 'Chupa de Dómine', Fed. Cántabra de Dep. de Montaña y Escalada, Peña de Montañeros Gistredo, Club Alpino Burgalés, Sociedad de Montañeros Burgaleses, CGT Cantabria, Asociación medioambiental IZATE, EMOCIO, Emociones y Tiempo Libre, OCIUM, dep. y cultura para todos, Grupo Espeleológico Logroño, Agrupación Astronómica Palentina, Amigos de la Tierra, CNT-AIT Cantabria, Asociación Deportiva Igollo, Montes y Maderas 200, S.L., Ecologistas en Acción-Sierras de Salamanca, Sociedad protectora de animales y plantas de Alcoy, Fundación Oso Pardo

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Bringing the case to the Spanish Court and the European Court of Justice.


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Other Environmental impactsImpact on protected species such as the Cantabrian Capercaillie, the Brown Bear and la liebre de piornal (endemismo cantábrico), o el Tritón alpino.
Also plant species such as Androsace cantábrica and Artemisia umbelliformis would have a negative impact.
Other Health impacts.
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
Project frozen
Development of alternatives:Not to build the ski complex.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Yes, the Platforma en Defensa de San Glorio brought the case before several Spanish Courts and before the European Court of Justice. These courts recognised the Platforms points and cancelled the permission for urbanising within the Natural Parks. Since then the project is frozen.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

on State aid to the coal industry. Official Journal L 205 0001 – 0008. Brussels: European

MITyC (2004). Plan nacional de reserva estratégica de carbón 2006-2012 y nuevo modelo de

European Commission (2002). Council Regulation (EC) No 1407/2002 of 23 July 2002

BOE (1986). Real Decreto Legislativo 1302/1986, de 28 de junio, de evaluación de impacto ambiental. Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Urbanismo. BOE 155: 23733-23735.


European Commission (2010). Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds. Official Journal of

desarrollo integral y sostenible de las comarcas mineras. Madrid: Ministerio de Industria,Turismo y Comercio.

the European Communities L 020 7-25, Brussels: European Commission.

European Commission (1992). Directive 92/43/EEC of the European Council of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora. Official Journal of the European Communities L 206, 7-50 Brussels: European Commission.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

2nd part:

1st part:

Documentary about the SanGlorio conflict. Linia 900: La batalla de San Glorio:

3rd part:

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

website from Ecologistas en acción with quite some information about the conflict: ón_de_esquí_de_San_Glorio

Website from the Plataforma en Defensa de San Glorio:

Newspaper article: Ecologistas advierte a la Junta de que habrá un conflicto por San Glorio y recurrirán todo lo que se menee:

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Series of photos against the macro-ski resort project in San Glorio:

Series of photos against the macro-ski resort project in San Glorio:

Meta information

Contributor:Amaranta Herrero
Last update08/04/2014