Josep Majoral, Senior consul of Sant Julia de Lòria, spoke about the projects and main tasks of Sant Julia de Lòria, the southernmost administrative region of Andorra.
Interview: Irina Rybalchenko for El Periòdic News
Could you tell us about the most interesting environmental and ecotourism projects of Sant Julia de Lòria and their annual budget?
This year’s budget is around 80,000 euros. We have done a photovoltaic roof at the Cultural Center, we have obtained the certification of sustainable tourist destination and we have done a study of the heat network in the centre of Sant Julia de Lòria. So, I hope that after the Government´s approval we will be able to go ahead.
We are also the only parish of Andorra that promotes a sustainable mobility competition with scooters, motorcycles and electric cars. Our internal mobility plan is being finalised to make staff travels more sustainable. The carbon footprint was calculated to have an indication at the beginning and end of the term to find out what the reduction in CO2 emissions has been.
We are also trying to determine whether the roof of the administrative building can accommodate photovoltaic panels. Moreover, we unblocked all bureaucratic procedures so that the Aixovall mini-power plant is already a reality.
Are there any joint projects with other parishes of the country?
The work on a national biomass project is underway. All the parishes and the Government ordered a project to find out what the possible production of biomass is and what the demand of the country is to know the balance between needs and capacities. Now, it would be necessary to finish outlining to find a private investor or an investor with public participation who would like to take the initiative forward.
What are the most attractive projects for potential investors?
From the side of the municipality, we believe that it is not only about protecting the environment but also about providing business opportunities in this area.
As an example, the roof of the Cultural Center was a tender awarded by an Andorran company that made all the investment and paid a fee in advance to dispose of the space for 25 years.
This money allowed the municipality to repair the roof that had problems with leaks.
This company made its business plan and in these 25 years it pays the installation, the fee, the amortisations and it has a profit margin.
So, the field of renewables still has a lot of room to receive more investors.
The MonMillor conference took place in Sant Julià de Lòria on 30 May to talk about climate change and promote sustainable tourism in Andorra. How important are these events? Do you plan to hold similar events in the future?
We have already held several events. One of the main conclusions I draw after listening to the experts is that Sant Julià de Lòria has taken the right path. We have framed the global communal directive as part of the global issue of climate change. It would be a mistake to think about running the state with your back to it. Of course, we will organise more events on these issues.
There was a project for the construction of a cable car to connect Sant Julià de Lòria with the summit of Claror Perafita Prat Primer. Do you still want the project to continue?
Today that area is a World Heritage Site and we don’t plan to develop any such initiatives.
Do you have any plans to develop infrastructure for tourists who prefer a more active lifestyle that includes activities such as rafting and kayaking?
It is not a question of specific infrastructure but of developing projects and, once done, joining forces with hotels, restaurants and trade in general so that their facilities can be complemented by our offer. If someone wants to realise a project of cycling tourism, we will all have to take the right steps to accommodate it. The municipality can lead an initiative, but to conduct it, we need the private sector to help provide a better service.
What would you like to do, as Consul General, to further promote environmental projects in Sant Julia de Lòria?
We are very small. Each person must contribute what they can. But my dream is that we can say that Sant Julià de Lòria is already a parish free of emissions. It is difficult, but with the tools we have, we are moving towards this goal. With the urban plan, we are making efforts so that the private sector can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. And I mean, flat roofs should be allowed if they’re landscaped. We have a clear roadmap for Sant Julià de Lòria to become a national benchmark in the field of renewable energy and care for the environment.