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Navarrese Corridor High Speed Rail, Spain


The Navarrese Corridor comprises the development of a High Speed Rail network for all the country, principally connecting Madrid (the capital) with the rest of the regions. This stretch in particular is planned to have about 200 km connecting the cities of Zaragoza and Pamplona and the latter with the line known as the Y Basque.

So far, the construction of a stretch of line of about 65 km, but for a one-way (not two) of European gauge, has started in the region of Navarra (Spain). The most striking fact is that it would have no foresight connection to any of its two ends. Planned expenditures would amount to approximately €900 million (5% of Navarra’s GDP) from public sources that will never be amortised. In addition, a recent court sentence has declared null and void the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the TAV in Navarra.

The layout of HSR in Navarra is parallel to the current railway line. However, it has also important impacts on natural areas that are not affected by the current line, including protected ones as the Laguna del Juncal (lagoon), a natural reserve area, among others. These enclaves are important habitats for nesting birds such as the little grebe, mallard, water rail, crake, moorhen and coot. They are also an important winter settlements for the marsh harrier and hen harrier. Thus, the environment of large areas of Navarra is damaged, and especially its Central Zone that is already full of large infrastructures like the current railway line, the A15 motorway, the Canal de Navarra, power lines and large wind farms.

The budget of the HSR in Navarra for its 214 km which would form the full length, has increased from the initially planned €1,842 million to €3,853 million estimated by the Minister of Public Works of Spain in May 2013, and even to EUR 4,470 million as projected in June 2013 by the current Director of Public Works of the regional government of Navarra.

Similarly to other places, a social movement opposing the introduction of new high-speed railways has been organized. The motivations for this opposition ranges from environmental issues to considerations relating to the cost of infrastructure and the need for its construction. The actions taken by the opposition to the HST include the various lawsuits driven by Sustrai Erakuntza Foundation with outcomes such as the court sentence previously mentioned. Forms of mobilization included as well civil disobedience actions such as the throwing of a pie to the president of Navarra in October 2011 in Tolouse (France). In relation to this action three activist were sentenced 2 years of imprisonment and a forth one was sentenced one year, exemplifying the fierce repression suffered by HSR opponents.

The economic recession deeply affected the plans of the HSR projects across the country and to the date it is uncertain whether it will be finished.

Basic Data

NameNavarrese Corridor High Speed Rail, Spain
SitePamplona, Tudela, Tafalla, Castejón, Valtierra, Cadreita, Villafranca, Marcilla, Peralta, Falces, Olite, Tafalla, Pueyo, Garínoain, Barásoain, Tirapu, Ucar, Biurrun-Olcoz, Tiebas-Muruarte de Reta
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesLand

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsLength: 213.9 km divided in 4 stretches

26 tunnels accounting for 37 km

36 viaducts accounting for 9.5 km

Minimum width: 23 meters

Amount of earth movements: 35 million m3

Land occupation: 750 ha + 150 ha dumping sites

48 municipalities affected
Project Area (in hectares)492
Level of Investment (in USD)5,004,835,500
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population500,000
Start Date09/04/2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesAdministrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF) from Spain - Manage and allocate public funds
Marcial Echenique y Compañía S.A. (MECSA) from Spain - Released a report underlining mostly positive impacts of the HST
ACCIONA Infrastructuras S. A. (ACCIONA) from Spain - Tenderer selected to carry out some works along with other firms
Obras Especiales de Navarra S.A. (OBENASA) from Spain - Tenderer selected to carry out the works along with other firms
Construcciones Mariezcurrena from Spain - Tenderer selected to carry out the works along with other firms
COMSA Estudios, Montajes y Tendidos Eléctricos (COMSA EMTE) from Spain - Tenderer selected to carry out some of the works
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Navarre

Ministry of Transport (Fomento)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSustrai Erakuntza Foundation

Mugitu AHT Gelditzeko

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
OtherCreation of dumping sites and landfills, earth movements
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherDecrease in the offer of non-high speed trains


Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesModernization of the existing lines.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Despite the failure of high speed railway lines that have been closed (Toledo - Cuenca - Albacete), the government insists on bringing forward this type of infratructure.

Sources and Materials



Ley 37/2003, de 17 de noviembre, del Ruido.

Habitats Directive (92/43/CEE)


Report. Rentabilidad social del proyecto de conexión de alta velocidad ferroviaria en Navarra. Alejo Etchart, Roberto Bermejo y David Hoyos. Grupo de Investigación en Economía Ecológica y Ecología Política (EKOPOL).

Barcena, I. and Larrinaga, J., coords., 2009. TAV: las razones del NO. Tafalla: Txalaparta


Article in "Ecologistas en Accion"

Platform AHT Gelditu - Elkarlana

News in the Guardian on the action against the HS

Activists sentenced

Report by the Sustrai Foundation. The construction of a new railway line in Navarra (Spain): Another scandal and economic scam outside the law

Mugitu blog. Activist platform against the High Speed Rail. Includes videos and media resources.

Sustrai Foundation website (High Speed Rail section)

Other Documents

Navarresse Corridor of High Speed Rail Image of the high speed railway project crossing the region of Navarre, connection in the north with the Y Basque and in the south with the line coming from Saragosse.

Meta Information

ContributorAlfred Burballa Noria
Last update11/03/2015



Navarresse Corridor of High Speed Rail

Image of the high speed railway project crossing the region of Navarre, connection in the north with the Y Basque and in the south with the line coming from Saragosse.