Author: Roberto García Ovalle
In 2006, the Governing Council of the Community of Madrid approved the start of construction for the conversion of the old landfill in Leganés into the Bosque Sur viewpoint.
Bosque Sur is one of the most ambitious environmental projects in the Community of Madrid. It is a large peri-urban forest park that runs along the Culebro stream through the municipalities of Leganés, Fuenlabrada, Getafe, and Pinto. It consists of 323 hectares divided into two zones.
Bosque Sur viewpoint. Atalaya Territorio, 2008
The planted species are native, making them better adapted to the environmental conditions of the area and requiring less maintenance (Community of Madrid, 2021). These primarily include oaks, cork oaks, oak trees, maples, wild cherries, and shrubs such as kermes oaks, brooms, and mastic trees.
According to Ignacio González, by then Vice President and Spokesperson, more than 21,000 trees and around 82,000 shrubs and bushes were planted in the first phase. In addition to the plantings, the project included the restoration of over three kilometers of the Culebro stream banks and other small watercourses, as well as the development of various recreational areas such as a sports circuit, multiple children’s spaces, and a lagoon. The roads built in Bosque Sur connected all areas from the Culebro to the Parque del Sureste, allowing you to travel through the municipalities of Pinto, Fuenlabrada, Móstoles, Getafe, Leganés, and Alcorcón without getting off your bike.
To achieve this environmental initiative, the Governing Council approved a contract worth 3.4 million euros (Community of Madrid Press Release, 2006).
The initial 120 hectares inaugurated by the President of the Community of Madrid were joined by those of the second phase in 2007, which included the reforestation of 40,000 trees and 250,000 native shrubs. In this second phase, a viewpoint was also built overlooking the old Leganés landfill, from which you can see an area of archaeological interest with Visigothic remains.
Furthermore, an outreach initiative was launched, culminating in the opening of the Bosque Sur Environmental Education Center, which became part of the Environmental Education Centers Network of the Community of Madrid.
Bosque Sur forest park is connected to Parque Polvoranca in Leganés through an 11.4 km route that crosses both parks. Parque Polvoranca covers an area of 150 hectares and has become the most widely used green area in the southern metropolitan area of Madrid. It features a 9-hectare lagoon for sports and recreational activities, meadow areas, picnic areas, sports and exercise zones, and an environmental education center.
Despite the Community of Madrid’s claim of investing over half a million euros annually in Bosque Sur’s maintenance, residents reported the park’s neglect in 2021 (Telemadrid, 2021).
In 2021, a fire was detected near Bosque Sur in an extensive parcel of land located between the municipalities of Leganés and Fuenlabrada, where the old Cárnicas Valle warehouse used to stand. Fortunately, it was extinguished by firefighters before causing major damage. However, due to the abandonment of this warehouse, an uncontrollable succession of illegal dumping occurred without any form of control for years.
Tons of debris, waste, and all kinds of garbage piled up in an ecologically valuable area. The mountains of trash were clearly visible to users of the Cercanías train between Parque Polvoranca and La Serna stations, as well as to drivers on the M-409 road connecting Fuenlabrada and Leganés. Plastic materials were even blown away by the wind, causing inconvenience to vehicles. Moreover, this pollution also affected the nearby natural lagoon, leading to its deterioration.
The Leganés government demanded that the landowners fence off the area and proceed with its cleanup. The Municipality’s Environmental Delegation committed to collecting and cleaning the area through a cleanup plan.