Tuesday, February 27

The Court cautiously allows the Navacerrada ski resort to use a stream for making snow

The Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice, based in Valladolid, has suspended the contested resolutions of the Duero Hydrographic Confederation that declared the extinction of the right to the private use of the “El Telégrafo” stream for the manufacture of artificial snow and the obligation to dismantle the facilities that affect the Navacerrada ski resort.

The Chamber has agreed to the precautionary measures requested by the commercial entity Puerto de Navacerrada-Estación de Esquí SA and has suspended, on the one hand, the resolution of the Duero Hydrographic Confederation of July 6, 2022, which declared the extinction of the right to use exclusive use of the waters of the “El Telégrafo” stream destined for the manufacture of artificial snow in the municipality of San Ildefonso-La Granja (Segovia); and on the other, that of August 31, 2022, which established the obligation to dismantle the facilities, appreciating that with the execution of these resolutions there would be “damages that are very difficult to repair due to the impossibility of continuing with the operation of the ski resort. de Navacerrada since the litigious concession is intended to provide water to the artificial snow cannons for that operation and the dismantling of the facilities corresponding to said concession has also been ordered.”

The Chamber has also appreciated the appearance of good law of the plaintiff company by pointing out, among other aspects, that the contested resolution of July 6, 2022 extinguishes the concession of the private use of the waters of the aforementioned stream “due to the expiration of the term in that the right was granted”, when the truth is that this term has not elapsed since it was granted on April 6, 1994 for a maximum term of 75 years.

As the Chamber has agreed to the suspension of the contested resolutions, it has also done so to the “positive” precautionary measure requested by the plaintiff consisting of ordering the Duero Hydrographic Confederation to repair the dam or dam diverting the waters of the river aforementioned “El Telégrafo” stream for feeding the artificial snow cannons that would have been affected as a result of the dismantling of the facilities and the appellant has also been allowed to carry out this repair for the maintenance and safety of the ski resort .

When the Sierra de Guadarrama ski resort was privatized in 2007, the Puerto de Navacerrada Esquí company inherited the concession made by the National Parks Agency that set a fee of 195,000 pesetas per year to occupy 7.6 hectares of mountain “for infrastructure for the practice of alpine skiing”, according to the file signed in 1996. With the updates of the CPI, the rent is around 1,500 euros per year.

In November 2021, and despite the fact that the Ministry for the Ecological Transition had ordered the closure of the tracks of the station in April, the president of the Junta de Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, stated that the competence lay with the regional government and the station was kept open. National Parks, owner of the land next to the Guadarrama National Park, had chosen not to renew the 25-year concession due to “the serious problem of saturation and access” that it entailed for an area of ​​high ecological value.