Environmentalists object to Sde Dov building plans

Sde Dov Photo: Eyal Izhar

Adam Teva V'Din opposes natural gas micro-power stations on the site of Tel Aviv's former airport.

The struggle against the closure of Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv is being succeeded by a dispute about what will happen to the vacated land. The "Adam Teva V'Din" environmental organization this week filed a number of objections to the plan for remaking the area, primarily the intention to put "energy centers" there - small natural gas power stations.

Adam Teva V'Din air pollution and energy head Dr. Arye Vanger says that if seven power stations working 8,000 hours a year are put in the neighborhood, the amount of emissions from them will be the same as from a large industrial plant in the heart of the neighborhood. The stations will emit 158 tons of nitrogen oxide, compared with 70 tons a year at Haifa Chemicals' plant at Mishor Rotem. 95 tons of carbon monoxide will be emitted - more than the emissions from the Ramat Hovav power station. More volatile hydrocarbons (without methane) will be emitted than from Nesher's cement factory and Dead Sea Works, and more carbon dioxide than from the Tamar drilling platform, and more even than from Gadiv Petrochemical Industries in Haifa Bay.

The submitted document stresses that the pollution is at low altitude in a residential area. The opinion filed by Vanger states, "The pollution that these systems will emit will be at low altitude - at ground level or slightly higher, like the emissions from public transportation. The plan's instructions speak of putting the systems at ground level or in the basements of public buildings, in which case the emission will go through a chimney to the street. This means that the exposure to pollution of the people in the nearby homes, on the street, and in public buildings will be extremely high."

This policy contravenes the plans by the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resource and the Ministry of Environmental Protection to remove pollutants from cities, as shown in the plan to ban the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2030. Vanger's opinion further states that construction of the power stations was not included in the environmental survey for the neighborhood, which refers only to the Reading power station and recommends that resident living on the higher floors in the neighborhood close their windows in the event of exceptional pollution. Vanger expresses concern that the gas-powered electrical production units will delay the development of renewable energy.

"It is unacceptable that at a time when Israel is removing pollution from city centers, the Tel Aviv municipality is promoting a plan that will bring pollution back to the city's residents at nose level," says Adam Teva V'Din head of environment and economy Adv. Leehee Goldenberg. "The residents of the future Sde Dov neighborhood will be guinea pigs for this technology, which has yet to be thoroughly tested. The measure runs directly counter to the view of the Ministry of the Environment, which has not yet formulated concrete guidelines."

Professional sources dismissed Vanger's opinion. Microgeneration power stations are more efficient that large power stations. In addition to electricity, they also make it possible to produce "thermal output," e.g. hot water and cold air for air-conditioners, which will reduce electricity consumption.

The Tel Aviv municipality claims that with filters on the chimneys, the amount of pollution is "negligible," consisting mainly of water vapor. Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, director general Ehud Adiri wrote to Adam Teva V'Din that his ministry was doing staff work for testing the microgeneration facilities, and construction of the first facilities would be an opportunity to test their effect on the environment. In other words, construction of the mini-power stations in the Sde Dov area will be based on preliminary work by the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources.

Adam Teva V'Din also opposed the plan for the area. The organization opposes the construction of 10 commercial centers within the park adjacent to the coast, which is zoned for open space for the public's benefit. The documents filed in opposition to the plan state, "This is the only large open space that the residents will have, because the neighborhood itself is very crowded. Too many unnecessary development centers are planned inside the park. Outside the park, there is a dense commercial façade that makes it unnecessary to also build commercial centers inside the park, which detracts from the public's ability to use the park as an open natural resource for recreation."

The organization also opposes a large underground car park underneath the park, saying that it is preferable to build parking facilities underneath built-up areas.

Finally, the plan to permit residences near the waterline detracts from the public character of the beach. Adam Teva V'Din complains that "exclusive luxury housing" will be built that will restrict public and commercial use next to them. The towers that will be built near the waterline will be 30 storeys high. The organization's objection proposes limiting the buildings to eight storeys and building towers at a greater distance from the beach.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 2, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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Sde Dov Photo: Eyal Izhar
Sde Dov Photo: Eyal Izhar
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