Miguel Montañés
Natura Medio Ambiente

Multi-Sectoral Studies to Back up Project Developers

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 17:22

Environmental studies have a real impact in the infrastructure projects. Natura Medio Ambiente, a specialist in environmental studies for infrastructure projects, can evaluate the potential impact of the construction or modification of infrastructure and, if necessary, recommend alternatives and solutions for the development of a project. Throughout 16 years of carrying out studies for big developers, Natura Medio Ambiente has gained experience in almost every area, from wind farms in areas with an abundance of birds in Spain, to redesigning roads in protected protected areas, and social projects in Mexico for the development of schools, hospitals, and universities. This has given the company, which has specialists in areas such as cartography, landscape, vegetation, fauna and archeology working together in mixed teams with staff from Spain, Bulgaria, and now Mexico, a mature and longterm approach to its business.

For Natura Medio Ambiente, Latin America represents a clear opportunity. While countries like Brazil and Chile have had a rapid development, Montañés is placing his trust on the Mexican market. The interest of the Mexico’s new administration in attracting foreign investment and diversifying the energy mix makes Montañés believe that large scale development will accelerate, impacting the entire population. The company has long enjoyed working relationships with companies like Acciona, Iberdrola and Vestas, which provided natural ramp from Natura Medio Ambiente to launch itself into the Mexican market. However these companies did not fully prepare Montañés and his team for what they would find in Mexico: technicians ready to start working with its international teams of experts, which helped the company reach an operational stage sooner than expected.

The company is offering its knowledge base to SEMARNAT. “The potential benefits of this endeavor could be huge since the transfer of knowledge could lead to proper and efficient regulation governing the way infrastructure projects are developed in the country,” says Miguel Montañés, CEO of Natura Medio Ambiente. “A clear example is the way studies are developed in Mexico, which can be drastically improved. At the moment, general impact studies are done, including presenting the design of a project, before specific research into detailed areas such as the impact on fauna or on local archaeological ruins is conducted. This implies a big risk since the design process could be wasted if the specific research invalidates the planned location.” Natura Medio Ambiente is lobbying SEMARNAT to switch this around so specific studies are done first before a company is given the green light to prepare and present its designs.

When a project is designed, various studies must be presented in order to comply with documentation requirements. Miguel Montañés, CEO of Natura Medio Ambiente says that the problem comes after this process, when nobody verifies that the construction of a project in reality matches what was stated in these studies. Natura Medio Ambiente suggests a solution that it already established in Spain. Namely, every project should involve an environmental project director that certifies that the project is executed in line with the documentation.